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As we prepare and look forward to celebrating the 4th of July with fireworks, there is a group of people that we need to keep in mind when it comes to setting off fireworks, our veterans, and members of the military.

While it is fun and awesome to see those fireworks exploding high in the sky above our neighborhoods (outside city limits of course), those loud explosions could trigger PTSD for veterans and active military who are at home for the holiday.

While talking with a co-worker here in the office, she reminded me that veterans and military members are often affected by the 4th of July fireworks. Something I had never really considered or thought about. These men and women who served our country with honor and dignity, with many of them doing it in a wartime setting, were often exposed to loud and awful sounds that continue to affect them to this day. When they experience or hear a loud boom or explosion it can take them back to that place and time.

PTSD can be traumatic for some people. So if you live in an unincorporated neighborhood and are thinking about shooting off fireworks this 4th of July, know who your neighbors are and a little bit about them. Especially if they are a veteran or are in the military, think about them. Let them know when you plan to set off your fireworks or find another location to set them off and light up the sky somewhere else.

Then you could take it a step further by asking them to join in on the celebration, be a part of your gathering, and celebrate the 4th of July together if they're comfortable with it.

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East Texas is full of fantastic restaurants that are owned by some extremely talented chefs, pitmasters and bakers. For years you, the Food Network, have been creating shows featuring local hot spots and we feel it's about time for some of our favorite hot spots to be featured on one of your many shows.

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