BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Millions are set to celebrate our freedom tomorrow by watching fireworks light up the night sky, but for those who fought for our freedom, Fourth of July is anything, but a celebration.
Jenny Frank, a veteran outreach program specialist for the Bakersfield Vet Center, says many veterans in Bakersfield become traumatized from the sound of fireworks because of their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For Jason Duran, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, this unfortunate reality began to surface when he returned from his first tour.
"Fourth of July was my favorite holiday," Duran said. "Then I get out of the service and I realized that one day it didn't work for me, Fourth of July was scary.
Now out of the service for 6 years, Duran has made amends with his favorite holiday, by going to therapy and surrounding himself with other veterans.
On the corner of East California Avenue and Radio Street, Duran and members of the United Veterans of Kern County stand in solidarity as they host their own firework stand.
Their mission is to raise funds for veterans in need.
"We have this firework stand going on so we could pay for veteran's stuff," Duran said. The money will be distributed to help veterans participate in social activities, excursions and several other things, he added.
For those who'd like to support, the United Veterans and Kern County firework stand will be open from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. on Fourth of July.
Veterans who need someone to talk to on Fourth of July or any other day of the year can call a 24-hour veteran's line at 1-877-WAR-VETS.