The 4th of July is best known for the barbeques and the fireworks and while the spectacle might be fun for many, some veterans say it can be traumatic. That’s because behind every boom in the sky, there’s a veteran that’s taken back to a time where similar sounds didn’t look so pretty. A time they may have spent years trying to forget.
“Oh yeah, chills run up and down your spine…it’s America,” says Edward Cullinan as he remembers the 4th of July fireworks.
In fact, Edward couldn’t more excited to celebrate America’s birthday, but it didn’t always used to be this way.
“Coming back from 17 months in Vietnam, my buddies and I did a little bar hopping.”
A night in the town that he will never forget.
“I just heard a loud noise and my immediate reaction was to duck and I got under the floorboards…my friends were laughing.”
After Vietnam, Edward was showing signs of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
“They laughed, oh that was a back fire but that still sounded like a bomb going off or a grenade or something like that.”
However, Edward isn’t alone. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, almost 31% of Vietnam veterans have PTSD, at some point.
“It was just one of those knee-jerk reactions,” Edward recalled.
These sounds took him back to the battlefield.
“Vietnam, there was a lot of action going on there at that time.”
Thankfully Edward has been able to put that behind him. Now he is asking that people be mindful of veterans and enjoy the holiday.
There are free signs provided to veterans during this time of year that say: combat veteran lives here, please be courteous with fireworks
If you are a veteran or know of a veteran who could benefit from having this next year, visit http://www.militarywithptsd.org