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Anxiety Skyrockets With Veterans During 4th Of July Fireworks

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DENVER (CBS4)- American veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may be hiding indoors during 4th of July fireworks celebrations because of what they suffered while protecting Americans’ freedom.

Now there’s a movement spreading across the nation that encourages those with fireworks to set off their celebratory devices somewhere else. Veterans are posting signs that read, “Combat Veteran Lives Here: Please Be Courteous With Fireworks.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“I would close all my windows, all my drapes, pace around inside my house,” said veteran Marine Sgt. Starr Baxter who lives in Thornton.

Baxter served in Iraq in the Military Police where her base near Fallujah took mortar rounds and sniper fire everyday for seven months.

“My first day there I watched somebody die. Two days before I left somebody got killed,” said Baxter.

Starr Baxter (credit: Starr Baxter)

Starr Baxter (credit: Starr Baxter)

One one occasion the troops were trying to relax with a pickup football game when it was interrupted.

“A mortar hit right in the middle of the sandlot. The football game and several people went down,” said Baxter.

She came home with PTSD that is triggered not necessarily by big fireworks displays but instead by the random firecracker someone might shoot off nearby.

“And you’re like, ‘Was that a gunshot or what was that?’ and you feel the need to go find out what it was, just try to calm yourself down but the anxiety and everything else is still there,” said Baxter.

That’s why she made the signs that are becoming popular with war veterans who need peace and quiet near their homes.

“A lot of them shut themselves in, they drink heavily, make themselves pass out. If you’re passed out, you can’t hear it,” said Baxter.

Baxter said on holidays where fireworks are part of the celebration, “Even to this day, to this day in high stress situations, I find myself having a drink. But I make sure I’m home inside my safe zone.”

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