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The 4th of July or Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, family reunions and other ceremonies celebrating the history and traditions of the United States.

Recognize Triggers

But for some service members and veterans, these celebrations can bring about uneasiness and discomfort and can be triggering. Recognize triggers ahead of time for your service member or veteran.

  • Light sensitivity to fireworks and sparklers.
  • Sensitivity to sound from fireworks, ceremonial gun, and cannon fire.
  • Uneasiness or feeling on edge in crowds.
  • Flashbacks due to sounds or smells.
  • Feeling emotionally distant or cut off from family and friends during celebrations.

Tips for Caregivers

Below are tips to help make this year’s 4th of July enjoyable – especially for those who have served or continue to serve in the military.

  1. Consider safe alternatives to typical Independence Day celebrations.
  2. Identify self-help tips or mindfulness exercises to relieve feelings of uneasiness.
  3. Reduce or remove substances such as alcohol from 4th of July events.
  4. Discuss celebratory plans with guests ahead of time to ensure everyone has a safe Independence Day.