OKC Veteran Says Fireworks Trigger War Memories

Monday, July 4th 2016, 6:06 pm
By: News 9

Every Fourth of July, fireworks light the skies. This is a fun way to celebrate Independence Day, but a veteran says these fireworks are tough for him to hear.

“I turn my hearing aids off, but it doesn’t help any,” said Vern Babcock, a Vietnam War veteran.

Babcock was overseas during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He said Vietnam was scary and while he loves Independence Day and its meaning, he says the booming fireworks are too similar to the sounds of war.

“It sounds like machine guns and then the big cherry bombs and stuff like that, it just sounds like grenades and rockets,” said Babcock.

On Friday, Babcock was in Blanchard at the VFW booth when a cannon went off to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“I almost went to the ground,” Babcock said he was shaking for the rest of the night and drove away before the fireworks show started.

On Saturday evening, he said some neighbors started lighting fireworks. When he heard it, he jumped out of bed.

It’s been almost 50 years since he left Vietnam, but the fear is still there. Babcock says the vibration of the fireworks is an uneasy feeling, bringing back memories of when his friends were killed and wounded in Vietnam. 

On Independence Day 2016, he will be grilling out and spending time with his family. He is celebrating freedom without fireworks and hopes neighbors will be mindful if they have veterans around them who may suffer from PTSD.