For many Americans, July Fourth wouldn’t be the same without a spectacular display of fireworks at night. However, the sudden and clamorous noises of bright explosions carry dark implications for war veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This year, “Military with PTSD” (a nonprofit organization based in Illinois) distributed 2,500 yard signs to veterans across the nation through their “Explosions for Kindness” campaign in an attempt to prevent the fireworks’ abrupt bangs from triggering memories of gunfire. The signs, which over 5,500 people requested, each bear the slogan: “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.” Although some neighbours were concerned that the campaign aimed to boycott fireworks, Shawn Gourley, co-founder of the nonprofit, clarified that “no veteran that served the United States wants to take a freedom away from people, especially fireworks, which represent freedom. What they’re asking for is for people to give them a heads up”—so that everyone can celebrate July Fourth in their own right.
Contributor: May Huang