Fireworks season can trigger PTSD for military vets - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fireworks season can trigger PTSD for military vets

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Firework sales begin today at temporary locations in Iowa, meaning tents and stands will soon pop up across the state. With sales expanding, many Iowas are excited. However, for some veterans battling with PTSD-fireworks can cause anxiety and be an overwhelming reminder of their time in war. 

The majority of people who hear fireworks are reminded of summer nights and barbecues, largely good memories. For a soldier with PTSD, there's a dark side.

 "I remember everyday," said Veteran Robert Green. "Just something-the smell-the sight. Sometimes just the way the wind blows through the trees-the sunset."

Green is a veteran who's dedicated 21 years serving his country, and he's reminded of it everyday. Places he's served include Somalia and Afghanistan. 

"There's always something that reminds you of someplace you've been," said Green. 

Although Green retired from the military in 2013, he says fireworks are still a big trigger. 

"Fireworks for us is like a bomb going off," said Green. "I want to hit the ground. Take cover. Hit the ground. It sounds and feels like incoming."

Each time Green hears fireworks, he relives the trauma. For that reason, Green is asking those who do plan on celebrating to be courteous to the veterans around. 

"We fought for that very right to have this fun," said Green. "We like to have the fun as well. Just be cognitive of the veterans around you and give that respect back to them that they gave to you-to have that fun with those fireworks."

Experts at Veteran's Affairs recommend talking with neighbors and friends before big holidays like the 4th of July. They say having a conversation about firework use can help create an understanding.

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