For some of our army veterans army veterans the sound of fireworks elicit mixed responses – the sound of rockets can replicate that of live artillery fire.
To be clear, we know Bonfire night has been here for as long as any of us can remember – I’m not asking for a ban on it or fireworks. What I want to do is raise awareness of this issue.
Many of our veterans will be expecting fireworks on and around Bonfire night, and for those affected by the noise they will be taking precautions to limit their exposure to it. However, as we know, people can use fireworks whenever they like – and it can be the unexpected sounds that trigger a bad, sometimes terrifying experience or memory.
As we approach Armistice Day on November 11th, we should all be mindful of those for whom the sound of fireworks is not an enjoyable experience. It is an unfortunate consequence that they can often trigger an involuntary ‘flashback’ – a memory so intense it can be impossible for the sufferer to realise it is not something that is actually happening in that moment.
Armistice Day is all about remembering those who selflessly gave their lives and served to protect us all. Don’t forget those who have returned to us after serving our country and may be finding it difficult to settle back into civilian life, not to mention those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for whom a firework event could pose significant upset and trauma.
I am not calling for a ban on fireworks – there are other ways we can show our compassion for those that have defended our country.
I would urge everyone just to be courteous and aware around this time. Talk to your neighbours; let them know if and when you are going to be setting off fireworks – find out if they are OK with this. Refrain from setting off fireworks at unexpected times during the day.
If you’ve never spoken to your neighbours before this is the perfect time to introduce yourself!
In my view we don’t do enough to know who lives with us in our communities so this is a great excuse to get to know them and just check that they are OK.