Heather Black

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Video: July Fourth Creates Internal Distress For Combat Veterans

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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)-Fireworks. They’re a bog part of many July fourth celebrations across the country.

However, they aren’t as fun for those who fight for our independence.

More and more troops are returning home from combat and are being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The big booms of celebration for us are an internal war of distress for the veterans.

Seeing red, white and blue shoot across the sky brings a big smile to many Americans, but for others, it serves as a reminder of war.

“A lot of them hear the small noises like the small fire crackers and bottle rockets and stuff of that nature and it sends them back to a situation or maybe into a part of their combat tour. Might not cause them to do something irrational but it would cause them emotionally to be involved back in the combat scenario they were in,” says SFC Danny Browning.

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Foundation of America says one out of every three troops returning home from combat zones are being diagnosed with PTSD, leaving those service members on edge this fourth of July.

Sergeant First Class, Danny Browning served two tours in Iraq. 2004 through 2005 and again in 2009 through 2010.

Browning doesn;t have PTSD, but he remembers how combat affected his return home.
“Probably after the first tour I did there was probably about two years worth of didn’t want to be around loud noises didn’t want to be around people a lot of big groups but it fazes away at times but you never forget,” says SFC Browning.

Staff Sergeant Bob Harrell served in Afghanistan for a year, back in 2011. He and other soldiers came in close with IEDs and other attacks. For Harrell, the after affects didn’t last long.
“You know you kind of jump a little bit at first but after a while things settle down. You realize you’re back in America and not a foreign country so things start calming down,” says SSGT Bob Harrell.

Harrell says the surprise launching of fireworks and other big booms are the cause soldiers with PTSD to become on edge.

“Right off the bat it surprises you or startles you that you’re going to jump if you don’t know what it is. If you realize you’re at a fire works show and you’re watching it you’re prepared with your family or whoever…friends you don;t think it’s as big a deal. Each person is different and each person has a different set of circumstances may or may not affect them differently,” says SSGT Harrell.

While Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is seen more in combat veterans, the illness can occur in victims of sexual assault or severe car accidents.