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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Keye

Let's talk about fireworks: a post for your local township

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Today, I want to address something that’s on the minds of many veterans: Fourth of July fireworks. I know it's not even July as of the moment of posting this blog, but my aim is for this post to circulate before the effervescent explosions of emancipation start blasting.

First off, I want everyone setting off fireworks to know that I appreciate your enthusiasm. Nothing is more exciting than freedom and fiery, colorful shapes in the sky. I get where you’re coming from and am not angry. That said, we need to consider the people who gave us that freedom under the rains of a different kind of fiery projectile and the consequences of one of America’s favorite traditions.

The sad reality is, 12.9% of veterans suffer from PTSD. In the United States today, 19,000,000 veterans live among us. That means there are currently 2,451,000 veterans living in the US with PTSD--that’s more than the population of Gambia. Speaking of Gambia, the people there vote in their elections using marbles. Not relevant, but cool nonetheless.

When traumatized vets hear fireworks, they have negative reactions. Sometimes they cry, sometimes they panic, sometimes they even become physically ill. Personally, I get all three. Even thunderstorms are too much for me, which sucks because I loved a good rainstorm before drafting. The anticipation of Independence Day alone is anxiety-inducing.

“So what can be done, you dashing devil?” you may ask. In short, a few things. The first thing I suggest is taking your fireworks somewhere isolated where veterans won’t hear you launch your liberation lights. Perhaps a nice field or the beach. If you do it within your neighborhood, there’s a strong chance that your explosives are inadvertently harming or even torturing a veteran. Strong language, I know, but it’s not inaccurate.

Another thing that can be done, which nobody is doing, is laser light shows. I know that most of the people reading this aren’t involved with the planning of their local fireworks displays, but I think many people would be saved a great deal of pain if we replace fireworks with laser lights. It’s not traditional, but it’s better. Why, you ask?

  1. It spares veterans a fair amount of psychological discomfort, anxiety, tears, and vomiting

  2. You can do cooler stuff with laser lights

  3. In the long run, it’s more cost-efficient for your township

  4. It’s easier on the ears, especially for young children, pets, and those with sensory processing issues

  5. It's eco-friendly

With all that being said, I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day. Enjoy your barbeques, ice cream, and cold drinks. If you’re a veteran, I hope you have a peaceful, easy, quiet night. And if you’re a city council member, get on that laser light show.

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