It isn’t just my dogs. Last year we found three dogs around our backyard the morning of July 5th. Three dogs. Three different owners. All the dogs ran away because they were trying to escape the sounds that terrified them. Facebook reeled with pleas for helping folks find missing dogs, and it ran post after post announcing a dog found here or there. I don’t think the owners are bad owners. I think they just don’t realize how much terrifying the flash and boom of fireworks can be. Unfortunately, some of those pets will never be found, and it isn’t because they are badly behaved or wild pets. It’s because they run so far to escape their torment, they cannot find their way home.
As I sit here and look at my dogs wrapped in a fear they can neither escape or even understand, I think of so many veterans who are affected the same way. Unlike my dogs, they understand fireworks. They know how they work, understand the reason, know to expect them. It doesn’t matter. The screaming of bottle rockets and popping of firecrackers hit their nervous system like rockets big enough to blow up a tank and machine gun fire. And those explosions that can rock the house rock their psyche like the ones that rocked the ground when they were in combat.
I sit here looking at the clock wondering how much longer the noise will go on and how long it will take before my dogs are able to recover from their fear response, and I am wondering if there are veterans wondering the same thing.
I’m wondering how many veterans are trying to drink away the torment. I am wondering how many anti-anxiety meds it takes to get through tonight. I am wondering how many are doing what I am doing, filling the air with exaggerated noise that is innocuous, sound they can control, just to drown out the noise they can’t. I wonder how many are running away or trying to simply escape the torment and end up running so far they cannot find their way home and are lost forever.
Tonight my heart is sick, and I am praying.
I will be honest. I’m praying for the terrified pets and their owners, and I am praying for the runaways to be found.
I am also praying for the veterans and those who love them. I am praying for their peace because God knows they’ve earned the right to have peace, and I am praying for those running, that they be found or find their way home. And I am praying for those who, for a war full of reasons, don’t find their way back.
If you are a veteran, I want to thank you for service that allows us this freedom we celebrate, and I pray for you and our brothers and sisters who are still fighting wars no one can see. May God bless you with the peace you so greatly deserve.
With deep gratitude and sincere prayers,
@2018 Jerri Kelley