Independence Day has not yet arrived, but fireworks have been going off in some Indiana neighborhoods for several weeks now. And that can pose a big problem for some military veterans.
A campaign is trying to change that with photos, signs, and a little help from the internet.
The post has gained over a million “Likes” this week on Facebook: a man with a yard sign that reads “Combat Veteran Lives Here -- Please Be Courteous with Fireworks.”
The group that posted the now-viral story is Evansville-based Military with PTSD, a small veteran and family support group. The man in the photo is one of the group’s members who made the sign himself.
The co-founder and executive director of Military with PTSD is Shawn Gourley. Her husband is a veteran who lives with the disorder, and last summer he was forced to leave his home to escape the random pops of holiday fireworks.
Gourley realized that a lot of vets were experiencing the same issue, and that it was the unexpected timing of the fireworks, rather than the sounds themselves, that triggered problems.
“We don’t want anyone to stop anyone from setting off fireworks," says Gourley. "The vets will be the first to tell you, they are not into taking anyone’s rights away, and they know all too well what the Fourth of July means. But what they are asking is, besides just the vets, there are mothers who sleep, there are people who work different shifts in these neighborhoods.”
Gourley says she’s already received offers for donations to help her organization print and distribute signs for next year, so they can be given out free to vets all over the country.