Celebrate the Fourth of July respectfully

Fireworks can be hard for combat veterans and service members, so be respectful when using them this July.

There are many ways to be respectful of veterans and service members as you celebrate Independence Day.
There are many ways to be respectful of veterans and service members as you celebrate Independence Day.

The Fourth of July is usually marked with celebrations that include fireworks. These are meant to be visual signs of our patriotic spirit and honor those that have served our country and protected our freedoms. However, those very same veterans and service members you are trying to honor may not feel the same way about fireworks. This July, many combat veterans, service members and their families will have a hard time while others are lighting off fireworks.

The loud sounds of fireworks can bring back strong feelings of fear or anxiety and memories of combat situations. This can be very stressful for veterans, service members and their families. Follow these simple suggestions while you celebrate Independence Day to be respectful of our veterans and service members.

  • Talk to your neighbors. Check in with your neighbors to see if any of them are veterans or service members. Let them know you will be lighting off fireworks and when you will lighting them off.
  • Consider the types of fireworks. Choose fireworks that don’t make loud bags or whistling sounds. If you know a veteran or service member, consider asking them what types of fireworks could be OK to use in celebration.
  • Timing. Use fireworks only on the Fourth of July to celebrate and during a specific limited time frame. Try to avoid lighting fireworks off at random times throughout the days, nights or throughout the month to keep disturbances to a minimum to our veterans and service members.

Celebrating the Fourth of July and being respectful to those that have served and continue to serve our country should go hand-in-hand. Check out this story from ABC 12, “Fireworks can trigger panic in veterans with PTSD,” for more information. Many communities are also offering firework-free celebrations so veterans and service members can join in the celebration.

For more ideas about activities and articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Did you find this article useful?