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Tag Archive | "World War 1"

Happy Independence Day


By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

World War 1, The Great War, seems so very remote to us now, occurring over a 100 years ago, between 1914 and 1918. That war introduced a new type of mechanical warfare that the world had never seen before with its machine guns and mass artillery bombardments that lasted for days or weeks at a time. That war changed the world in ways that are still felt down to today.  Of the many atrocities that occurred in that war, one thing sticks out in my mind and that is the slow realization of the reality of something then called “shell shock” but now generally known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Early in the war, “shell shock” was thought to be a wimpiness or a lack of moral fiber brought on by the percussive action of artillery shells landing near soldiers.  Many combat soldiers were abused by commanding officers, put on trial and executed for “cowardice” for what we now know to be a psychiatric disorder that the American Psychiatric Association says can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, heart attack, rape or other violent personal assault.  In fact, as many as 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD during their lifetimes.  Some symptoms of modern PTSD include extreme vigilance, nightmares, insomnia, intrusive thoughts, avoidance, social isolation, sadness, fear and anger.

So, what does that all have to do with Independence Day and our pursuits of life, liberty and happiness? Well, the simple answer is that fireworks can be fun but they can also be dangerous and please be mindful of your friends, family and neighbors who may not enjoy your fireworks as much as you do.  Persons who suffer from PTSD often dread the fireworks of Independence Day, which may inadvertently cause them to “relive” their traumatic event because the firework sounds like an IED, gunshot or screaming.  

So, while you are celebrating the colonial grievances against King George III,  please consider some basic fireworks safety tips such as: always have adult supervision; only use fireworks when sober; keep safe distances; keep fireworks safely away from flammable materials including dry grass; keep a bucket of water or hose readily available; never hold a lit firework or point fireworks at people or animals; and leave all roads clear so that emergency services can get through in a hurry.  

Finally, please consider using pretty fireworks but avoid loud fireworks. Combat veterans and dogs everywhere will thank you. 

Fireworks may be used in the City of Cedar Springs on a national holiday and the day before and after that holiday but not between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on those days.

Posted in City Hall CornerComments Off on Happy Independence Day


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