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Veteran: please observe fireworks laws

(Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

ROY — Fireworks pose a special challenge for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one veteran is asking Utahns to follow state firework laws around holidays like Independence Day and Pioneer Day.

PTSD is tough for anyone to live with. For veterans, the sound of fireworks exploding in the sky can take them back to some of the most stressful and traumatic events they experienced while serving.

“We would regularly get rocketed or mortared by the Taliban,” explains Army veteran Keith Kippen.

Kippen served at Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan. He says unexpected fireworks are especially difficult to handle.

“It just brings that back to life,” says Kippen. “If I’m not prepared for it, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in complete panic thinking I’m being shot at or mortared.”

That being said, Kippen does not want fireworks banned or outlawed. He just wants people to stick to the dates and times allowed by the law.

“The vast majority of us don’t want Americans to not celebrate. We just want them to do what’s right, follow the law, and listen to what other people are telling them,” says Kippen. “And then after that, have as much fun as you want!”

Fireworks are now legal for Pioneer Day from July 22-25, between 11:00 a.m and 11:00 p.m. You can find a complete list of restrictions here.

Anyone caught violating fireworks laws could face up to a one-thousand dollar fine.