The Leaf Chronicle
Ayrika L. Whitney
July 1, 2016
In his neighborhood close to home — where he is not always expecting it — is another story.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Independence Day makes most think of fireworks, cookouts and long weekends spent with friends and family.Retired 1st Sgt. John Brown served in the Army for 23 years and has served in four combat tours in Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has been in therapy for his PTSD for 10 years.
(Photo: Ayrika Whitney / The Leaf-Chronicle)
The loud booms and cracks the fireworks make usually bring "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd as expressions of delight light up their faces.
But for others in Clarksville, the fireworks can bring back flashbacks of war-torn countries and memories of gunfire and combat. Most of those people are the same ones who fought to preserve the freedoms the holiday celebrates – veterans who are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some spend days or weeks preparing mentally to withstand the typical holiday barrage of fireworks.
According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Vietnam veterans are the most likely to suffer from PTSD with an estimated 30% experiencing the disorder at some point in their lifetimes.
Army retired 1st Sgt. John Brown still enjoys the 4th of July fireworks — on his own terms.
Brown saw combat in Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and served for 23 years before retiring in 2011. He served four tours in combat.
He will go to fireworks shows with his family this time of year, and for him the awareness that he is in an environment with loud noises makes a difference.
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