Local veteran struggles with PTSD on Fourth of July

by: Brittany Jones Updated:

Fourth of July

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - For local veterans with PTSD, fireworks can trigger painful memories.

A Clay County veteran is sharing his own struggles with Action News this holiday.

For many, the sounds and lights from fireworks are the most enjoyable moment of the Fourth of July holiday.

"Just going to take it easy and probably barbecue," said Tim Blankenship.

But, for veterans like Blankenship who fought for our freedom, those sounds bring back memories of a war zone.

"Just loud noises can set off any type of flashback. Some of the veterans may not even know they have it," said Blankenship.

Blankenship is talking about post traumatic stress disorder. He said he was diagnosed in 2010 with PTSD. He found out nearly 10 years after retiring from a 20-year military career. Experts say the sounds of the fireworks remind veterans of explosions and guns.

"You might go out tonight you might be watching fireworks and something will happen tonight that you'll remember when you were in the service," said Blankenship.

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw said after working with veterans who experience the depression and anxiety that come with PTSD, he knows it's difficult to live with.

"It tears your heart out to see what they've been through, because it's Fourth of July and they're the reasons that we can celebrate," said Crenshaw.

Blankenship isn't asking locals to stop celebrating, but hopes they'll be courteous to the vets who have sacrificed so much.