As our country celebrates its independence, some of our most patriotic Americans dread this time of year.
Michael Powell proudly spent 22 years serving our country.
“I was in Iraq constantly under mortar attacks, small arm fire, road side bombs,” says Powell.
And like many veterans, he suffers from PTSD.
“You spend all your time reacting to explosions and loud noises and everything and for some reason when you get back you just can’t shut it off,” says Powell.
And because of that, Michael fights a different battle every Fourth of July. Where M80’s and Roman Candles are just as un-nerving as anything on the battle field.
The sound of fireworks is a trigger for someone with his condition.
“You low crawl to the nearest place that you can find cover, constantly looking for your weapon- where’d I put it? Where’s it at? Takes me a few second to realize what it is, where it came from and that it’s just fireworks,” says Powell.
Powell isn’t alone, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates PTSD affects 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq.
He says he wants to bring awareness to the countless veterans who suffer each summer and in turn hopefully receive compassion and understanding from his community…
“You can’t stop people from having fun, I’m not trying to do that, but if you’re going to set off large fireworks right across the street let me know ahead of time,” says Powell.