I got a lesson in "ultimate irony" yesterday. I learned that many combat vets avoid fireworks at all costs.
I knew this in theory, bit yesterday I met someone who explained what it was like for him in situations with loud noises and flashes of light.
He told me about a baseball game he was at where he and his wife sat far away from most of the crowd, because crowds can overwhelm too. Early in the game, the home team hit a home run and in celebration, a cannon was fired...he was anxious and agitated for the rest of the game. He didn't know about the cannon firing tradition.
Fireworks? Forget it! He recounted being in numerous mortar attacks and fireworks bring flashbacks for him.
The casualties of war are not just the lives that have been lost...they include the bodies and and minds and the souls that have been irrevocably changed.
So the "ultimate irony" of which I spoke of is this: one of the time honored traditions that we in the United States use to celebrate the day of our independence, the day of our freedom, is something many of the men and women who served our country to maintain that freedom, shy away from.
That celebration, reminds them of the burden they took on, so the rest of us wouldn't have to.
So please, enjoy the cookouts, enjoy the time with family and friends, and enjoy the fireworks. Keep in mind that days like this are often very difficult for those that served our country. Say a sincere thank you and send them prayers and good wishes for their very long journey toward healing.
Happy 4th everyone!