Fireworks remind veterans of battle


Since the very first American Independence Day celebration in the year 1777, fireworks have been an integral part of commemorating our freedom. Every fourth of July, citizens throughout the country unite at their local high schools, parks, malls and neighborhoods just to watch the public displays.

While watching fireworks is generally thought of as a fun and patriotic tradition, the sights and sounds that we have all grown accustomed to might not be necessarily suitable for everyone.

As only a true-life war veteran would know, the personal aftermath of enduring physical battle can often be distressing and traumatic. Being consistently subjected to noises from war planes, weapons and other explosions, a war veteran could come home conditioned to be shocked or fearful of similar loud noises.

On the other hand, the American masses are regularly exposed to fireworks every year and have known no other Independence Day tradition besides the typical barbeque and fireworks display.

Although Independence Day is clearly an important holiday for all Americans, sometimes people may still forget the true spirit of the occasion. Without the American Revolution in 1775, which led to the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4 would not have the same significance.

It is primarily with thanks to those Americans who sacrificed their lives to gain the independence of this nation that we are able to celebrate July 4 year after year.

Over the past two centuries, America has survived through a number of wars, ranging from the two world wars to Vietnam in the 70s. After each war, veterans come home and have been celebrated because of their courage and sacrifice in order to preserve the freedom of the United States.

Now, American troops are at war once again. Whether members of American society agree with the current war or not, we are faced with another generation of war veterans who are currently being exposed to dreadfully loud guns, bombs and other war noises.

Unfortunately, loud, exploding fireworks that are reminiscent of war sounds have become a basis of celebration for many American holidays, most significantly Independence Day.

According to research from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, average fireworks can reach up to 140 decibels, which is about the same noise level for a gun shot or the take-off of a jet engine. Hearing-damage also can be caused by noises of around only 85 decibels.

War veterans who have suffered significant traumas are often bothered by the sounds of fireworks, reminding them of the horrors of war. While the rest of America is enjoying the bright and loud explosions, veterans, who have protected the nation time-and-time-again are upset by them.

Ironically, many Americans who go to war to protect the freedom and independence of this country are sometimes forced to suffer, while the ones being protected are celebrating their independence with fireworks that remind the veterans of the war front.

Several cities, most notably some in Britain and Australia, have formed bans on excessively loud fireworks (over 120 decibels). These bans are not trying to destroy the long-standing traditions of celebrations, but are rather looking for ways to keep the noise levels of the fireworks down to a minimum.

Perhaps America can learn a lesson from these bans and be more sensitive to the issues that may potentially harm those who fight for our independence and freedom.