Bottle rockets and firecrackers can sounds a lot like gunfire to some veterans who have been in combat, making the July 4th holiday a difficult time. That's why one local vet is asking you to think about your neighbors before setting off fireworks.

Dale Dunn says fireworks can sometimes bring back bad memories. This is why he's preparing for the sights, and especially the sounds of the holiday weekend. He was diagnosed with PTSD a few years after returning to the states from a year of combat in Vietnam.

"That's when all the loud noises and bangs and everything else, fireworks and everything else, started getting to me," says Dunn.

He's asking anyone who plans to set off fireworks in residential areas to be courteous. If veterans live in your neighborhood, let them know to expect the noise.

"The sudden bangs without warning of any kind still play a little bit, still shakes me up a little bit," adds Dunn.

Some veterans might have signs on their properties identifying themselves as having PTSD. Dunn says this can be helpful, but urges veterans go a step further to make themselves feel at ease during the summer holidays.

"I have found it, over the years, better in the long run to talk to your neighbors and your city people," states Dunn. "Go to the city council meetings and stand up and tell them who you are."

Dunn gets along with everyone in his Alabama town and he's been getting treatment for his PTSD for several years.

"Most everybody there knows me, know where I come from, what I've been through," says Dunn.
But because the sound of fireworks can still make him jumpy if they're nearby and unexpected, he wants people to think first before celebrating.

"It has become better. I still have to work at it. It's not something that's ever going to go away," Dunn admits.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD affects around 30 percent of Vietnam veterans. The group MILITARY WITH PTSD makes those yard signs available through its Explosion of Kindness Campaign.