Fireworks' effect on veterans with PTSD - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Fireworks' effect on veterans with PTSD

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KENTUCKY (WFIE) -

While you're enjoying all those fireworks going off around the 4th of July, one group in the Tri-State will be trying to take cover.

War veterans and active duty members say it's the loud explosions and sudden bursts of light from fireworks that can drum up flash-backs from war.

A Facebook group named 'Military with PTSD' has started a campaign to put signs in the yards of all veterans.

The movement is called 'An Explosion of Kindness' and by 2015 organizers plan to hand out these free signs to any veteran who needs one.

They're aimed at reminding neighbors that fireworks can heighten PTSD symptoms brought back from battle.

"There's a threat that runs through all of us," says veteran E. Russell Jones. "A lot of us can handle like the city fireworks. We know it's not incoming so that fear is not there. But we hear that going off. It's like artillery. I know it's not coming in, everyone else does. It's pretty well ok, it's the firecrackers that get us."

Active duty U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Joshua Lewis Pohlman, who is deploying back to Germany Saturday, says several of his combat brothers still live with the stress of fireworks.

"Like an improvised explosive device, you're not prepared for it whatsoever," says Pohlman. "So if you hear a loud explosion or a loud noise and you're also not expecting it your mind can go back to a stressful time in your life where something bad happened to you."

Veterans aren't saying don't shoot off fireworks in your neighborhood.  It's July 4th, they know it's going to happen.  

They are asking that you be courteous so they don't relive the memories they hid for a reason. 

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