SALEM, Ala. (WRBL) – Fourth of July was over a week ago, but fireworks could be heard days after the holiday. Wayne Wommack a Vietnam Veteran is speaking out in hopes to bring awareness to the stress continued firework usage can cause for veterans who suffer from PTSD.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 11-20% of Iraqi Freedom veterans, 12% of Gulf war veterans and 15% of Vietnam veterans are currently diagnosed with PTSD. A disorder that can easily be triggered by things like fireworks.
The Fourth of July is a holiday to celebrate our independence and the freedom of our country, but Vietnam Veteran Wayne Wommack says one of the most common ways people celebrate the holiday is harming those who have defended this very freedom days before and after the holiday.
“99% percent of your veterans do not like fireworks,” said Wommack.
Wommack said the loud bangs and booms trigger veterans’ PTSD and instantly take them back to a place they don’t want to go… a warzone.
“It can take you back to a combat area and and you’re thinking return fire if you’re at home it can make you go to a safe spot that some of us it takes going to a dark room and holding your hand over your ears.”
Wommack said the random bursts of fireworks the days ahead and after holidays like Memorial Day and Fourth of July is what scares veterans most. Wommack said when veterans are aware of firework shows on the holidays, they can prepare and avoid these events.
“What gets us is the idiots in the neighborhoods that start a week before and shoot fireworks until they can’t buy them.” said Wommack
Wommack said the ongoing fireworks show more than just a lack of respect for veterans-–they represent a lack of care.
“Some people just don’t care, they wanna laugh at us,” said Wommack. “They wanna make fun of us when we hit the deck or we go to that safe spot they think it’s funny.”
He adds the fireworks also trigger veterans’ animals, forcing them to worry not only for themselves but their pets as well.
The veteran said putting out a cautionary sign that a veteran lives in the neighborhood, as some do, would cause him more grief than it would good.