VETERAN PTSD AWARENESS WITH LOUD FIREWORKS
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The 4th of July is Monday, and that means fireworks will be lighting up the sky. For veterans and service members who suffer from PTSD, the sound can be triggering.
Marilyn Woods, the recreation director and program administrator of the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center, said service members have a better reaction to fireworks when they are expecting them. But, when people light fireworks where it’s illegal and they’re not expecting it, that can be triggering for those with PTSD.
“Fireworks they sound like bombs, they sound like, you know it’s a loud boom. That can take the residents back, and not just our residents here but veterans all over the community. It’s Lawton-fort sill so somehow everyone is affiliated with the military. And those sounds can take them back to when they were in the military when they were at war,” said Woods.
PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder, it develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
Andrew Ahhaitty who served in the Marine Corps tells 7news how hearing unexpected fireworks make him feel.
“It brings back flashbacks you know from being out in the field going through all that fire in stuff,” said Ahhaitty.
US Army Veteran Geroge Suzuki spent 24 years in the services and said he’s excited to see the fireworks.
” I think it’s a sign of patriotism. And it makes me proud to have served and I just enjoy it,” said Suzuki.
Woods said community members should be cautious with their fireworks, especially with Southwest Oklahoma having a heavy military presence. You never know who’s suffering from PTSD.
“And I mean to us it may seem innocent but we don’t know what these veterans have been through before now,” said Woods.
Fireworks are illegal within the City of Lawton, for those who live outside city limits, please be cautious when lighting fireworks, and notify your neighbors especially if they are service members or veterans. This can really help them.
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