A grassroots effort to shield military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder from the fear and anxiety associated with Fourth of July fireworks is gaining traction around the country.
The sign, which reads, “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks,” was created by 32-year-old retired Army Staff Sergeant Jon Dykes.
Dykes suffers from PTSD brought on by three tours of duty in Iraq. It’s not the big, advertised displays that are a problem, he says, but the fireworks that go off unexpectedly. Last year, people in Pace, Florida where he lives, started shooting off fireworks a week before the holiday. He didn’t sleep for three days, he says.
“I was hiding in my house. I was not here in America in my mind. I was transported back to Iraq and that’s what it was like," he said. "It was like I was under attack again.”
Dykes says a local shop made the sign he put in his yard. He also posted a photo of it on his Facebook page, where it came to the attention of the advocacy group Military With PTSD.
The online group is working with a number of elected officials and businesses to make sure any veteran who needs one of the yard signs can get one free next year.
You can follow Cyd Hoskinson @cydwjctnews.