I sat down with my friend Don Jokinen, he is a disabled Veteran who served one tour in Iraq where he was a Sapper (IED Hunter) in an Engineering Company. He was literally blown up 5 times before being shipped back home and does suffer from PTSD.
It turns out we both have a child who celebrate their birthday on the 4th of July, but we both experience this day a little differently. Many people just don’t have an understanding about PTSD and the effects fireworks have on these many Veterans. Many Veterans are brought right back to Iraq or Afghanistan the moment a shell explodes over their head and they aren’t expecting it.
Don says the best thing you can do to help him out and others is to wait until the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July to set off your fireworks. Also if you know about a Veteran nearby, just a knock on the door is enough to make the difference between enjoying the show or crawling across the lawn to safety..
Many Veterans use signs to tell people that they suffer from PTSD, you’ve probably seen those signs around the 4th of July.. It turns out we are many assholes around this area who thought they would be funny by dropping fireworks into his front yard last year on multipal occasions. So this year he says he didn’t out the sign out and so far no one has done it again.. That is not right!!!
It is my hope to find someone in the U. P. of Michigan who has 400+ acres of land and would be willing to have a camp-out/outing for Veterans with PTSD on the 4th of July weekend. If these Veterans had a place they could go to where they control what happens, it would benefit many. Don says it could be therapy to help introduce fireworks back into many of their lives. Some Veterans go into hiding, not able to handle even the littlest
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