LETTER: ‘I support a ban in Normandy Park on Fireworks…’

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Normandy Park Blog nor its staff:]

To the Normandy Park City Council,

The Fourth of July is about patriotism, celebrating our freedom, celebrating our fighting men and women who have placed their lives in harms way for us. Yet many of those veterans are forced to leave their homes, their communities for a week. Those veterans suffer from PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Order) and the explosions are too much for them to bare. We have to my knowledge, after speaking to one at Ace Hardware, at least 8 veterans who left Normandy Park to go camping to get away from this community while it gorged itself on explosions and mortar cannons. Sadly here in the US there were suicides among some that couldn’t bare the fireworks and explosions. (CNN News)

As I cited above I spoke to 1 veteran, who told me his story of the group from Normandy Park who left their homes because of the fireworks, because it is torture, and too painful for them. I am aware there are more in our community who want their privacy, who are not willing to bring their condition into the public light. To protect their privacy they suffer in silence.

I believe that this is not what they should have to look forward to on July the 4th, either leaving their community or suffering for their service. I believe as a responsible considerate community we should be doing what we can to help our veterans, to be considerate of them.

We have not had such an influx of combat veterans since Vietnam. For almost 30 years there hasn’t been a concern about veterans or PTSD since Vietnam and fireworks have become common place in celebrations throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. With the ending of 2 active combat theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a huge increase in cases of reported PTSD. Certainly PTSD was not understood back at the end of Vietnam, in the way it is today. In fact, it wasn’t until 1980 that PTSD was even recognized as a mental illness with signs and symptoms. More then 70% of soldiers returning from an active combat areas suffer some form of PTSD. In the first gulf war there were more then 200,000 reported cases of PTSD post combat. Jump forward to 2014, where 2.2million have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year alone more then 700,000 cases of PTSD were reported. There have been an estimated 1.54million cases overall reported by the office of veterans affairs since the start of the second Gulf War. Those men and women have fought, and been wounded, fighting for the patriotism that we celebrate on the 4th. Yet here we are driving them from their homes and communities because of pretty sparks, loud bangs, and the thrill of blowing things up. (www.va.gov)

I believe this is not how we should repay and honor the men and women of our armed forces. Let’s not drive them from their homes because we want the freedom to make noisy explosions and pretty sparks. This is a terrible reminder to them of what they went through to support our freedom.

For the reason above, and the other obvious reasons, of fire danger, animals, and liability, I support a ban in Normandy Park on Fireworks.

– Thomas Riehl
Normandy Park, WA

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]

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