Tet, Vietnam, 1968. For the 19-year-old Marine being overwhelmed by the explosions of gunfire, mortars and rockets, it’s a war of life or death. This young man had killed and watched his buddies die and suffer horrific wounds.

The enemy was swarming the American troops defending Quang Tri.

Sounds of explosions, smells of death, the sight of bodies torn apart were ignored for survival. But those sounds, smells, and sights would return, year after year, until 54 years later, as the Marine sat in his home in Walla Walla on the Fourth of July, the war returned.

Now this Marine, along with countless other veterans of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, is forced to relive the horrors of war in a deeply personal way. He prays for an end to the fireworks. Perhaps the use of low-noise fireworks would satisfy our hypocritical patriotic displays.

In return, veterans, PTSD victims, the elderly, children, livestock, crops and pets would not be subjected to the physical, financial and mental stress associated with high-intensity fireworks.

As that Marine who fought in Vietnam and loves our country, I cannot conceive why our county leaders would reject restrictions on high-intensity fireworks.

Skip Nichols

Walla Walla