Fourth of July can be difficult for veterans

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- So many of us look forward to the sights and sounds the 4th of July brings, but for some it's a different story.

"The same type of sound that an AK-47 or an M4 would make and your mind goes back to where you were. You're really not in America; you're back over there. It's just that quick," explained Jack Grunding.

Grunding was once a private military contractor.

He served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now he battles with PTSD.

He said the sudden sounds of fireworks can be jarring for vets.

"M-80s, there's certain, you know pops that go on the ground that sound like machine gunfire. You know I jump if I hear a car backfire sometimes," he explained.

Indiana nonprofit, Military with PTSD, is trying to help.

They created signs for veterans to put in their yards to spread awareness.

It reads, "Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks."

"It brings awareness and it helps that person have a voice," said Dr. Kattrina Roach with Addiction Campuses in Southaven.

She helped Grunding cope with his PTSD.

She said fireworks can force those suffering down a dark path.

"It can often send them into a spiral for other complications, other anxieties and things that occur with that," she explained.

Roach and Grunding both agreed, whether you see a sign or not communication is key.

"Maybe go over and say hey, we're getting ready to shoot off some explosive fireworks, we just want you to be aware. That would be nice," said Grunding.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimated 11-20% of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD in a given year.


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