To the Editor:
As the Independence Day holiday approaches, Phantom Fireworks would like to remind its customers, friends, and all those who use consume fireworks to be mindful of the fact that some veterans can be startled and upset by the noise of fireworks.
Chelsey Zoldan, M.S. Ed., a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and special consultant to Phantom Fireworks, advises that there is the potential for some veterans to be reminded of combat situations when they hear the loud sounds of gunfire and/or fireworks.
Combat veteran Henry Jiminez, on a broadcast news piece aired on KABB-TV in San Antonio, indicated that he found the unexpected blasts to be the worst. He said sometimes upon hearing the unexpected fireworks blasts, he drops down and puts his hands over his head.
Ms. Zoldan indicated that the startle of the unexpected fireworks booms can cause some veterans increased anxiety, which could be difficult and challenging to them.
Phantom Fireworks suggests that those who intend to shoot consumer fireworks in a neighborhood should contact their neighbors to let them know what they plan to do so those combat veterans who might be affected by the fireworks have the opportunity to take steps to avoid the unintended consequences. Some veterans actually put signs in their front yards asking for consideration from neighbors when using fireworks. Signs for veterans are available at http://www.militarywithptsd.org/shop/veteran_ firework-sign/.
According to Ms. Zoldan, the bottom line is that giving veterans a heads up that you will be lighting fireworks seems to be the most helpful. Vets aren’t necessarily scared of or by the noises, but the unexpectedness can trigger unwanted symptoms and distress. Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday safely, and please show courtesy to those military veterans who served so your freedoms could be protected.
William A. Weimer
Vice President, Phantom Fireworks