There may not be a better way to celebrate our country’s birthday than with some delicious barbecue food, good friends, and a fabulous display of fireworks to light up the night sky.
Yet while most of us love the crack and rumble of fireworks, there are many people who can’t handle the surprise and shock of the unexpected booms. As you can see in this article, dogs run away more during 4th of July weekend festivities than any other time of year, and we all know that most little ones get frightened by fireworks.
“Your heart starts racing you just automatically start looking for cover,” Leo Kaalberg, an Iraq War Veteran from Illinois told WQAD.
“It affects me a little bit worse, I was hit by an IED, I’ve been through countless mortar attacks and things like that,” said Kaalberg, who has terrifying memories brought back every time he hears the loud noises of the fireworks.
Kaalberg explained that it was especially bad the first July 4th he spent home after deployment. “The first couple years I would jump in bushes, I would duck under my table, I would hide myself in the bedroom during the night when most of them were going off.”
Although this brave hero has been a veteran for 8 years, he says July Fourth festivities are still a very stressful time, with fireworks blasting off without warning. Although Kaalberg’s personal story is unique, this hero is far from alone. All around the country, countless veterans feel the same way.
That’s why veterans are asking their neighbors to be respectful and courteous this July 4th, many who have help with the “Explosion of Kindness” campaign, a non-profit that raises money to send thousands of veterans free yard signs that read, “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
“Coming off of the week of July Fourth, we had over 3,000 veterans on our waiting list waiting for a free sign,” co-founder Shawn Gourley told 9 News in Colorado.
“Independence Day [is] the celebration of our freedom,” Gourley said. “It’s exactly what [veterans] fought for, and the last thing they’d want is for people to stop celebrating that.”
Learn more about this campaign in the video below and please SHARE this very important information this July 4th weekend.
[Featured Image: Military With PTSD]