Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Today is the day that the US celebrates its independence. A day to celebrate all things American. Images of hot dogs, burgers, watermelons, flags come to mind. Picnics and BBQs with family and friends.

We often think that this must be a wonderful day for the Veterans who have fought for this country. What all too many do not realize is that for many of them, today can be a very difficult day.

The reason for that is invisible and one wrought with stigma: PTSD.

PTSD affects about 7.7 million Americans, and for many of them July 4th is an ordeal, not a celebration. For some veterans, the holiday sparks painful memories; for others the crackling loud noises resemble the horrifying sounds of war.

While L has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he, too, has PTSD and sudden loud noises are difficult for him to deal with. Last night as people started shooting fireworks in anticipation of today I saw him jump with every sudden noise. A day that used to be a day of celebration has become a difficult day for him and many others. The loud and sudden explosions, the large crowds of people gathering, for some the memories of traumatic events that happened on this very day in their own life have become too much to handle with ease.

So today, while you celebrate please remember that the Veteran you know might not be avoiding festivities because he is not patriotic enough but simply because Independence Day has become a difficult day to handle.


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