Combat Veteran's Fourth Of July Request For Fireworks Courtesy Goes Viral
Iraq War veteran Jon Dykes suffers from PTSD and found the firecrackers and other pyrotechnics used by his neighbors last year on the Fourth of July left him feeling like he was back in combat.
Earlier this week, Dykes posted a request on Facebook for "fireworks courtesy" from his neighbors. His Facebook post has since gone viral, being shared more than 280,000 times.
Dykes told MilitaryWithPTSD.com why he posted the sign:
“Courteous to me means remembering that you are not the only one living in your neighborhood/town/city. America celebrates our independence on the 4th of July. Not the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th of July. Some fireworks are expected, and that’s okay. I understand. But, not 24 hours a day."
Psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen is the founder of Give An Hour, a nonprofit which offers free counseling to service members, veterans, and their families.
She explained to USA Today that the Fourth of July is a good time to show our veterans some respect:
"The sensitivity here is that if you know that your next-door neighbor served ... and you're planning to have a fireworks display in your backyard, it's probably the thoughtful thing to do to let them know."
According to Dr. Karen Kattar of the PTSD Clinic at Phoenix's VA hospital, Independence Day can be a nightmare for some vets with PTSD:
"Because the symptoms of PTSD encompass being startled, and also being hyper vigilant, those unexpected things that remind them of traumatic events can be very distressing."
And there's the irony of the Fourth of July - a day in which we celebrate our independence and freedom, but a day that can be torture for the veterans who helped fight for that freedom.