Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Please Respect Veterans When Using Fireworks

While you celebrate this
photo credit: sunsurfr via photopin cc

Don't forget about this
photo credit: via photopin cc

Growing up, the pyrotechnics at our family gatherings were something we all looked forward to and there are many funny stories - well, funny because no one got really hurt.  Like the time we were sitting on the bed of the old farm truck watching from afar when the container launching bottle rockets fell over and shot them straight under the truck - never saw all us kids empty out of the truck so fast.  And the time one of those little spinner bee firecrackers took off and zipped right up great-grandma's leg and up her skirt...

Fast forward a few years.  Through my brother training with the local recruiters his senior year in high school, through boot camp, a deployment to Okinawa, 9/11, deployment to Kuwait to await the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, several months of combat during the launch of the ground assault in Iraq.

photo credit: TraumaAndDissociation via photopin cc

My brother was on his way back from Iraq on what happened to be the week of July 4th and was granted immediate leave instead of going through a decompression time on base.  Well-intentioned family and friends had planned a big gathering and even made a special trip for some of the "big" fireworks.  It was torture for him trying not to react and pretending to enjoy the display while secretly fighting the urge to hit the deck.  No one seemed to understand why the boy who always had loved fireworks was now a man who was trying to talk them into not doing them.  

From the sister of a combat veteran, please try to respect local veterans when shooting your fireworks this holiday.  Limit your fireworks to the 4th or let veterans who live near you know when you do plan on doing them so they can prepare themselves if they need to.

Wishing you all a very Happy 4th of July!
Remember Freedom Isn't Free!

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