Sumter, SC (WLTX) - With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many veterans with post traumatic stress disorder are concerned about fireworks.
While in service, soldiers are exposed to gunfire, missiles, and bombs that can go off at any given time. Fireworks that go off unexpectedly can cause similar reactions from veterans like Ray Johnson.
"My neighbors do a lot of fireworks and it can be triggering as far as war goes," said Johnson. "Most neighbors are not aware of veterans that suffer from PTSD."
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly eleven to twenty percent of military members who have served or are currently serving will suffer from this condition this year.
The booms, crackles, and whistling that fireworks make can bring up bad memories.
"We all have issues and it's triggered by some things that have happened to us in our past," said Johnson.
To help these veterans, the Sumter Veterans Affairs office is making signs to grab peoples' attention.
Valerie Brunson with the office believes it's important to realize how much a concern this is.
"We hope that the community will see the sign and give that veteran and his family the respect and the honor that they deserve," said Brunson.
They're not asking for you to stop shooting fireworks. They just want you to be mindful of where and when you decide to shoot them.
"Of course we want them to shoot them because we love fireworks. We just want to bring awareness for the war veterans in our neighborhood," said Brunson.
Another way you could help with this issue is buying silent fireworks. They work just the same but they keep the sound down to a minimum.
Johnson just wants you to open up the conversation with your friends next door.
"Sometimes you just got to talk to them very nicely and let them know that you're a veteran and that the fireworks bother you," said Johnson. "I think more than likely they will tone it down."
If you're a veteran in Sumter and want to pick up one of these signs to put in your yard, Friday, June 30th, you can head to the Sumter County Courthouse from 11 am to 1 pm to pick up a sign for free.
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