The Fireworks In A Veteran’s Mind

We were hypnotized by what seemed like millions of colors drizzling down into the reflection of the lake as the crowds applauded the Veterans Day extravagant fireworks display paired with a musical salute to our nation’s veterans.  The town lit up around us after a beautiful Veteran’s day parade. My daughter said it looked like a box of Crayola crayons shot out of a cannon into the sky.

We were hypnotized by what seemed like millions of colors drizzling down into the reflection of the lake as the crowds applauded the Veterans Day extravagant fireworks display paired with a musical salute to our nation's veterans.  The town lit up around us after a beautiful Veteran's day parade. My daughter said it looked like a box of Crayola crayons...

We had hurried with our two children to get the best spot near the lake. We were lying on our backs on a thick plaid blanket. I brought to keep us dry and comfortable, with our children between us, gazing up at the canvas of colors unfolding in the night sky.  Sometimes, just like their dad, the noise frightened them, but the vivid display of fireworks always got their attention and stopped them from crying.

However, my husband had to keep his eyes on the colors exploding in the dark above us for another reason.  If he only heard the popping sound without seeing the finished results, it reminded him of his tour in Vietnam and the pain and despair he and his comrades felt.

When we discussed taking the kids to the night celebration, I told him we could stay home and watch the fireworks on television, but he insisted that as long as he could see the display, when the explosion sounded, he could handle it.

The first fireworks display happened on July 4th in the middle of the Revolutionary War to be a “morale booster.” The celebrations at the time included the firing of cannons and guns, adding to the explosive nature of the festivities.

We may enjoy fireworks, but in the mind of the veterans, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the unexpected blasts can trigger their memories of combat and induce panic attacks.

Veterans Day annually falls on November 11th. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918.

However, we pay tribute to all of our men and women who served and are still serving in the military to protect our great country and to allow us to enjoy the freedoms and lifestyle that we often take for granted.

When I was in Washington, D.C., during the Memorial Day weekend, I saw men stand alone in front of The Wall and other war monuments and weep unashamedly. Sometimes other veterans came and stood by them. Their stories are different, but their painful memories are very much the same. They fought with their very lives for their country and saw their friends die.

We may not understand veterans who become emotional as tears roll down their cheeks when they stand and salute as they hear the “Star-Spangled Banner” or see a flag raised, or their disappointment when someone refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

.Young soldiers to a foreign land without friends and family. They fought in the dark, in the rain with a gun, knowing they would have to shoot or be shot by another soldier ( who was on the other side) and the only person who could understand their fears and pain would be another soldier.

How did they do it?  How did they keep going forward? Maybe it was the American Flag that was on display in their hearts as they pressed forward while bombs were exploding around them, or the sheer gratitude they felt when they completed the next, and their lives were still intact.

However, much or little soldiers gave during their time of service for our country, it changed who they were.  My husband said that fireworks used to be so much fun for him and his friends when he was a young man. “Now, if I don’t focus on where they are coming from, he said, they take me back to a different time; a different place.”

God bless our soldiers serving our country today and God bless the ones who are still fighting the battles in their mind.


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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. I have such respect for all veterans, past present and future! Thank you for his service!

    • Deana Landers -

      Roxanne, thank you so much for always commenting. I feel the same way for all veterans too. Deana

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. We just don't know the hidden cost of our service members who were in combat situations. My dad was on the beaches of Iwo Jima and my son in the surge and other hot spots in Iraq. Sometimes we get glimpses in...

    • Deana Landers -

      Yes, Linda, we do. Thank you for reading and commenting. My husband is the chaplain for the VFW in our town and he listens to their stories and is able to relate to them.Deana

  3. Thank you for sharing! I love visiting your blog.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Meegan, for reading my stories and always commenting.Deana

  4. Aaaai Deana, the effects of war last for such a very long time. When I was growing up most of the boys in my class were forced to do military duty in Angola and they still bear the scars today. Sadly most of the scars are deep, deep inside. Your hubby is one amazing man. I don't know if I would have the strength to treat my family to an event that brings back so many life-changing memories. Sending much love to your clean seven Father Christmas with a heart of gold.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you for sharing that with me, Michelle. The scars in our veterans are deep and we can't comprehend what they went through. Thank you dear friend for reading and commenting. Deana

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