When I was a child I used to wonder why the veterans in town didn’t like the fireworks on the 4th of July. I thought that’s what they fought for, the freedom to make things go boom. When words like PTSD and Flashbacks where thrown around I pictured television shows. A child of PBS and short-lived cartoons, my world revolved around tv. As I got older though, I began to understand. The fireworks sound like gunshots but it’s hard to tell where they’re coming from. Whether they’re aiming at our backs or some other mysterious hiding spot. How will we know when the shots are real? How will we know if someone has been shot unless we wait til the end of the show, but by then it would be too late. There’s fire in the sky with the flash of enemy artillery, explosives flying through the heavens like the wings of an eagle, and the smoke that makes you question if it’s even really happening. A dark cloud forming in the sky and stealing away the moon. Ashes begin to rain down like nuclear fallout, what if they hit us again? When will I hear the distant chatter of helicopters to take me away or will I see planes scraping skies and spraying us with metal promises of death? Amidst the chaos of the lights and loud crashes I manage hear a father speaking to his daughter, child you are safe as if she knows there is a possibility she wasn’t. As if she hears the threat of war. As if she can feel that things will never be the same. But the words are a reminder that it is not wartime, that it is ticking on our clocks. Although, if tensions keep on growing like the tumor that they are, I fear the time will run out. That fear will sound the war alarms. That everyone we love could be a possible casualty. It is the moment that the clock stops on the hour and everything is silent. That’s when I remember that this was just a fireworks show. The show is over now. Take a breath.