BOSTON (CBS) – Thursday is a day to celebrate our independence. But the most popular Fourth of July tradition leads to many who fought for our freedom avoiding the festivities.
“As the holiday approaches you mentally prepare and you get ready for it in the same way that when you’re ready to go out the door for a mission in a combat zone. You mentally prepare for what’s going to happen,” Army veteran Mike White said.
As fireworks light the sky Thursday, many veterans choose to spend it in doors.
Scott Germain, a 25-year Army veteran, is with Clear Path for Veterans New England, an organization helping veterans transition back to civilian life. Germain explains why he doesn’t like fireworks.
“I’ve seen enough explosives and have done enough of that in my career but it does help to be prepared for that,” he said. “But when you’re not prepared, yeah it does throw a trigger off and you do wonder. It takes a little while, you throw the TV up a little louder to try to block those sounds out from your neighbors.”
Dr. Bryan Marx with the national center for PTSD says some veterans choose to stay away from large crowds and loud noise.
“They may be less inclined to make others aware that they have this problem and instead choose to suffer in silence and just deal with it for the day,” he said.
Marx said about a quarter of soldiers have PTSD. For those who do, it’s fairly common for loud noises to be a stark reminder of battle.
Some veterans place a sign in their yard to let their neighbors know they have an issue. Marx said that while being prepared may help many veterans, for others it can actually lead to more anxiety. And that can make the Fourth of July an especially difficult holiday.