How veterans with PTSD cope during 4th of July fireworks

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As we celebrate our Independence with fireworks shows and festivities across Texoma, many of the veterans who've fought for our freedom are just trying to make it through the holiday. News 12's Daniella Rivera spoke to a local veteran who suffers from PTSD, about how the night can affect some of our military servicemen and women.

The lights and sounds that excite us and spark patriotism across America, can also bring back the memories of war for those who fought so we could celebrate this freedom.

"It brings back the memories of the battle. The led flew fast and furious," said veteran Jerry Wrenn.

Wrenn has post traumatic stress disorder, and he currently helps other veterans struggling with PTSD as a peer-to-peer support group facilitator.

He says while the 4th of July is a day to celebrate our independence, it can be a stressful day for our Nation's heroes, "It affects different veterans different ways."

With the loud bangs and bright flashes of light, Wrenn says it took him years before he started going out to see fireworks on the 4th of July, and he urges veterans to take their time adjusting to the holiday.

"Don't go rushing back into something because the memories are there--the memories will never fade. That's part of you," said Wrenn.

He says if you know a veteran who suffers from PTSD, you can help them by simply understanding, they may not be ready to enjoy the fireworks, or even be around other people on this day, "When they want to be alone just back off and let them be. Even though they understand the celebration and why we're doing it, and what it means, there's still the nervousness about the noises."

Wrenn says he's watching the fireworks this 4th of July but many other veterans with PTSD may not ever be comfortable with the displays, and that's ok.

But there is help for veterans who want it. If you are interested in a veterans peer-to-peer group, you can contact Jerry Wrenn at: