DENVER (CBS4)– American veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder may hide indoors during the July 4 fireworks celebrations because of what they suffered while protecting the freedom of Americans.
Now there is a movement spreading across the country encouraging those with fireworks to set off their celebratory fireworks elsewhere. Veterans display signs that read “Veteran Lives Here: Be Courteous With Fireworks.”
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âI closed all my windows, all my curtains, paced inside my house,â said Veteran Marine Sgt. Starr Baxter who lives in Thornton.
Baxter served in Iraq with the military police where his base near Fallujah suffered daily mortar and sniper fire for seven months.
âMy first day there, I saw someone die. Two days before I left someone was killed, âBaxter said.
Once the troops were trying to relax with a football game when he was interrupted.
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âA mortar hit right in the middle of the sandy ground. The football game and several people fell, âBaxter said.
She came home with PTSD which isn’t necessarily triggered by large fireworks, but rather by the random firecracker someone might fire nearby.
“And you’re like, ‘Was that a gunshot or what was it? and you feel the urge to go find out what it was, just try to calm yourself down, but the anxiety and everything is still there, âBaxter said.
That’s why she made posters that are becoming popular with veterans who need peace and quiet near their homes.
âMany of them shut themselves up, they drink a lot, pass out. If you’re passed out, you can’t hear it, âBaxter said.
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Baxter said on the holidays where fireworks are part of the celebration: âEven to this day, to this day in high stress situations, I find myself having a drink. But I make sure I am at home in my safe zone.