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Veterans Say Many with PTSD ‘Suffer in Silence’ During Fourth of July

WEST SACRAMENTO -- While Fourth of July fireworks are a traditional sign of celebration for most Americans, they can be painful triggers for military veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Veterans FOX40 spoke with Monday say there aren't many big campaigns spreading awareness about this issue because vets largely "suffer in silence" about their PTSD.

"We're really good at masking our feelings, we're really good at hiding what's inside. A lot of us are experts at that," James Brashear said. Brashear is an Iraq war veteran and is now a commander of the West Sacramento VFW post.

Brashear says the explosion noises from the fireworks trigger a physical and psychological reaction in many veterans. Personally, he feels his heart rate increase rapidly, and he experiences shortness of breath.

Psychologically, Brashear says, it's difficult not to "be brought back" to Iraq. Family members will find him staring off into space following a sudden firework noise.

At Mather Veteranw Village, a fairly new veteran-only living complex, Vietnam veteran Richard Tincher says he will likely spend much of Monday and uesday locked in his own apartment with the TV volume pumped up loud to drown out sudden explosion noises.