Call For Courtesy Ahead of Holiday Firework Displays
ERIE-- The lawn signs read, "Please be Courteous with Fireworks. A Combat Veteran lives here."
The signs are popping up everywhere--- from California to Pennsylvania. It comes as fireworks are surely a part of the 4th of July tradition in America.
"Fireworks are a prime example of a trigger that will bring a person back to that time," says Dr. Anthony Mancini, a Clinical Psychologist of the Erie VA Medical Center."
Mancini says the sound of a firework can bring a veteran back to a moment in combat, especially if he/she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"They're always on guard," Dr. Mancini adds. "They're suddenly paranoid. They're always watchful. They're always on edge. They're easily startled. So, [if you] start blowing some fireworks around one of our combat veterans, and they don't know the fireworks are coming, they're going to jump out of their skin."
Six years ago on the 4th of July, Erie County Councilman Jay Breneman came back from serving in Iraq.
"I went to a Fourth of July celebration and I was anxious the whole time," Breneman says.
"Come to find out, I wasn't the only one. Do they scare me? No. Am I comfortable around them? Yes. But again, its that reaction that you're trained for."
"It not only brings back memories, but they can be instantly in a flashback," says Venus Azevedo-Laboda of "Boots On Ground."
Azevedo-Laboda watched it happen to her brother, Philip, who served in the Navy. In wake of Philip's death in 2012, Azevedo-Laboda formed a veteran advocacy group called "Boots on Ground."
"Anything like [fireworks], there is no way he could go and see fireworks," Azevedo-Laboda says.
Bottom line, the experts say it's about being courteous to our hometown heroes.
"If you live next to or if you have a neighbor that is a veteran, be aware that this may negatively affect them," Dr. Mancini says.