Fireworks Explosions Remind One Vet of Other Explosions

Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate the fourth of July.

But for some combat veterans, the experience can be traumatic instead of fun.           

“The noise to me just makes me think of Korea, with like mortar shells artillery shells and everything going off you know,” said Combat Veteran Bill Wyatt.

Bill Wyatt is a combat vet who loves his country.

But the explosion of fireworks on Independence Day remind him of other explosions.

“I got hit with a mortar shell when I was like on a big hill. And the road for run on the side of the hill. On one side was a drop off, 50 or 100 foot or something. And a mortar shell come in over top that hill and it went down like two foot.”

Bill has post-traumatic stress.

He attended fireworks shows for a while, but eventually stopped.

“I think all my children knew. They knew something was wrong. I would get nervous, stuff like that. And it really bothers me, so much I didn't even wanna go to them.”

Psychologist Mark Kane works with combat veterans with PTSD.

“You put somebody in harm's way chronically and ongoing in an intense environment, and your nervous system's gonna get blown up dealing with all that stress,” said Psychologist Mark Kane. He sees 100 combat veterans with PTSD at RiverView Psychological Services P.C. in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids.

Kane says 30 percent of vets are dealing with PTSD, maybe even more.

He says part of the brain's frontal lobe sears off permanently after constant assault.

“All their adrenaline is going through into their muscles, their lungs, their heart, and they are in fight or flight mode. They are not sitting there rationally having a hot dog or an ice cream cone.”

Some vets with PTSD can handle fireworks with ample warning.

But others like Bill just need peace and quiet.

“We'll probably have a cookout or something. We have family gatherings and stuff like that. And I enjoy all of that. :15