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Fourth of July causes concern for combat veterans with PTSD

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 03 2014 05:07:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2014 05:53:12 PM CDT

Celebrating our nation's birthday isn't always a happy occasion for those who defended our freedom.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Celebrating our nation's birthday isn't always a happy occasion for those who defended our freedom.

Some combat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder say they are making plans to avoid the fireworks.

They fought on the battlefield, and on Independence day some veterans still think they are in combat.

“If they go off behind me, the whistling fireworks are the bad ones,” said Allentown resident Paul Breitfeld.

Breitfeld served in the army and fought in the Vietnam War.

He is just one of many combat veterans that suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

A few of the triggers include sights, sounds and smells from fireworks.

“It’s kind of ironic that we celebrate Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day with fireworks," added Breitfeld. "And yet those who served in combat don’t like fireworks."

Recently other veterans have been taking to social media to spread the same message.

A Facebook page shows signs in the yards of combat vets.

Paul Breitfeld knows where he will be on the Fourth.

“I’ve got to plan based on when the fireworks are happening. So I’ve got to go to the casino or movie theatre, the new ones, the old ones we found out Saturday night are not soundproof.”

Breitfeld knows not every combat veteran suffers from PTSD, but he says talking about it is helping him heal and bringing awareness to the issue.

“What’s the macho thing? I’m not afraid of anything," said Breitfeld. "I’ve been to war, I’m not afraid of anything, but here I am.”