You’ve probably seen this sign circulating on the internet.
“Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
This yard sign was rolled out by a nonprofit called Military with PTSD last summer. The organization’s goal was to spread awareness about the harm sudden or unexpected noise can cause to military veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last year, the group sent out 4,000 free yard signs to veterans. According to Military.com, it has already delivered 1,600 more ahead of this year’s Independence Day. The website also sells signs for civilians and specific military branches on its site.
Military with PTSD co-founder Shawn Gourely told Military.com that the sign is supposed to encourage a community conversation, not an outright ban on fireworks.
Gourley said the signs have helped veterans start discussions with neighbors. A knock on the door and a heads up that someone plans on setting off fireworks can make a big difference, she said. For the neighbors, the signs show them a way to help the people who served their country.
“It isn’t to stop fireworks. What it is, is any day leading up to July 4 and the days following July 4. If you’re going to be setting off fireworks, if you could just give the veterans a heads up. It’s the unexpected fireworks that is what bothers them, what can trigger (PTSD).”
Veterans know to expect fireworks on July 4 and can take necessary steps to protect themselves. It’s every other day that’s a problem. Despite the group’s good intentions, some crab apples have already parodied the sign to ridicule traumatized vets. Not cool.
You can check out the Military with PTSD store here to grab your own sign.