July 4th fireworks trigger flashbacks for veterans with PTSD - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

July 4th fireworks trigger flashbacks for veterans with PTSD

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DENISON -- As many celebrate our nation's independence, it's a night of suffering for some who fought to protect it.

Harvey Orr, 62, enlisted in the military at age 19. He spent two years in Vietnam and now uses a service dog named Sadie to sooth symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder which he's been suffering with since the 1970's.

"You can't imagine the things I've been through," he said. "I'm still going through the suffering of the killing, and going and picking up the guys out in the field. It was just terrible," he said.

While July 4th is supposed to be a day to celebrate our nation's independence, Orr says he spent the evening experiencing traumatic flashbacks of what he witnessed in Vietnam.

"Last night was the worst I've ever been," he said.

The flash, bang and pop of fireworks near his Denison home, he says, triggered painful memories of an experience forever etched in his mind.

"They were pops, just like pop, pop, pop, just like coming out of a gun, you know, a weapon," he said.

Orr says he makes regular visits to the VA in Bonham to speak with a counselor about his PTSD. He also says Sadie helps, too.

While he doesn't expect people to stop lighting fireworks, he says he does hope speaking out about how it impacts some veterans, like him, will make people think about those who view the sights and sounds of fireworks as anything but a time to celebrate.