Signs remind fireworks users of veterans’ PTSD


For veterans who suffer from PTSD, the sounds of fireworks can be a trigger

WOODHAVEN, Mich. — Fourth of July is an exciting time but for some, fireworks can cause stress. For veterans who suffer from PTSD, the sounds can be a trigger.

A Michigan town is giving out free lawn signs to remind those celebrating the Fourth of July to be cautious.

Director of Veteran’s Green Villages Gordon Soderberg says, “It’s the sudden unexpected noise that gets people triggered.”

It’s something all too familiar during Fourth of July celebrations.

The city of Woodhaven is offering up these signs for Woodhaven vets, reminding neighbors to think twice before lighting off.

It’s a gesture veteran Jennifer Smith, who recently got a sign, says means a lot.

She served in Kuwait for eight years and lost her then fiancé to an IED explosion.

Jennifer Smith says, “I don’t think anybody does it on purpose to be mean. I just don’t think everybody knows that that is a big trigger.”

Especially, she says, when she doesn’t know they’re coming.

Smith says, “When they’re happening to midnight, two, three in the morning, a lot of the times, even myself, i’m rolling off the bed and rolling underneath my bed because it sounds like you’re back overseas.”

Woodhaven Mayor Patricia Odette says, “The city is not against fireworks. We do our own fireworks.”

But Mayor Patricia Odette hopes the signs remind people to use common sense this week and be courteous.

Detroit Veteran Gordon Soderberg says not all vets want to identify publicly.

He’d like to see neighbors make an effort.

Gordon Soderberg says, “Know the vets in your neighborhood and say hey are you going to be around the fourth? We’re planning on blowing some stuff up, is that cool with you? And vets are not going to stop anybody from celebrating the Fourth of July. I guarantee you that.”

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