By: Patti Katter
This morning, in our Hope For The Warriors Facebook Caregiver Support Group we discussed the obstacles some combat veterans face when hearing 4th of July fireworks. I thought I would share a few helpful tips in our caregiver group of 213 members that I incorporated into our 4th of July holiday within the very first year my husband came home from war.
1. I invited other military veteran/families to our home for a 4th of July Celebration
*Veterans often feel more comfortable around other veterans.
2. I made it a potluck! It’s nice to have others pitch in at get togethers, and who doesn’t like the variety of food?
3. We made new traditions. Even though you might remember going to a big fireworks display, if your veteran isn't so comfortable in crowds anymore, or if the explosions are too much for him or her, it’s okay to switch up the holiday. 4th of July shouldn't be a dreaded holiday; it’s a time when our country celebrates our freedom.
Think of things you can do on the 4th, be it staying in our going out - whatever your veteran is comfortable with. We find it is easier for my husband to watch fireworks from our home, in fact I prefer that myself. I like avoiding long lines and big crowds. When our kids were smaller, my husband would participate in playing with sparklers and helping to light small fireworks in the driveway. Now that our kids are older, they often times head out to attend picnics or watch fireworks with their friends
Julie from our Caregiver Support Group states, “My husband (after several years of dismal 4ths) can now join in the fun on the actual day - it's the unplanned neighborhood fireworks that are a problem. No great solutions, but when possible, we take a walk to see who's having the fun. It seems to help to know the who/where of it all.”
Colleen said that they have a low key family BBQ. She said the noise from the fireworks is a non-issue to her husband, but the heat, crowds and long lines are stressful for the whole family.
Autumn said that her husband does not like leaving the house and he doesn’t like doing much for the 4th. There are veterans who would prefer to stay home and watch movies. One veteran I spoke with said he cranks the surround sound up on his home stereo system and has a movie night. There are several options for veterans and their families to indulge in during this 4th of July holiday season. Hopefully, you will be able to use some of these hints and tricks to make the 4th of July an enjoyable one this year.
Thank you to our men and women in uniform who make it possible for people across the country to enjoy our BBQs, fireworks and time together with family in friends since around 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was written and congress declared July 4 as a national holiday.