Ahead of this holiday weekend, KATC wants to share two veterans’ perspectives on an iconic part of the Fourth of July: fireworks.
According to Veteran Affairs, Louisiana is home to more than 250,000 veterans.
While fireworks might not impact every veteran the same way, veteran Deron Santiny says it’s important to keep in mind that the holiday is coming up.
“I expect it so I’m aware of it,” said Santiny, who is co-chair of the Veterans Action Coalition in Southwest Louisiana. “But some veterans, depending on their level of PTSD and how they learn to cope with it, they are skittish, or it just brings back bad memories.”
Similarly, veteran Jory Camille, vice president of the South Louisiana Veterans' Outreach, agrees.
“If you know it’s the Fourth of July and you know that that might trigger you, be around those that’s been around you before that understands PTSD, understands the reaction that you may have to it, and might be able to help you calm down,” said Camille.
He says you might see veterans at events with fireworks flinch and look for where the fire is coming from, but it’s normal due to their previous training.
“You might even see them drop to the ground, that’s them taking cover. That’s just the reaction that’s been trained into them,” Camille added.
Santiny says it’s just an assumption that people that were in the armed forces can’t be around fireworks.
“It’s more of a stereotype because not everybody that goes in the military sees combat, and not everybody that gets out of the military has PTSD,” said Santiny.
He says, personally, he takes pride in people celebrating the Fourth of July. He says that’s what he fought for - people’s freedom.
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