PARKLAND, FL – As we celebrate the Fourth Of July this weekend, I request that the residents of Coral Springs limit their use of fireworks.

It’s for a good reason: I am one of at least 3,000 who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy (I was hiding in the closet with 60 other students during the shooting), and for many of us, the sound of fireworks isn’t a symbol of our nation’s freedom but rather a reminder of that painful day nearly two and half years ago.

Do not get me wrong. I enjoy the Fourth of July for its barbecues and time spent with family and friends celebrating our independence as a nation, even though this year there will be less rejoicing given the presence of coronavirus cases in our community.

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All I am asking is that all of us in Coral Springs think twice before setting off fireworks or at least limiting them only to the Fourth of July and not allowing them to be carried over for days and weeks to come.

This is for the mental wellbeing of so many of my former MSD classmates, as well as staff and families, that continue struggling to get past the tragedy, which for the young people, in particular, remains one of our most traumatic days in our lives.

Please believe me: for someone suffering from PTSD, a day, or more, of loud popping noises coming from all over will cause distress. The lingering effects will last much longer for us than the fleeting moments of joy for those watching the sky light up with fireworks.

Again, I am not offended by fireworks. This is not a politically correct issue, this is not even a political issue.

In celebrating the holiday, if you choose to decorate everything that you own red, white, and blue, please do it to your heart’s content.

But no matter what you do, take to heart my message and be compassionate and considerate of the MSD survivors that live everywhere around our community.

Thank you.

 

Ariel Braunstein, who lives in Coral Springs, is a student at University of Central Florida. She is an intern for TAPinto Coral Springs.

Read her other perspective article on the upcoming graduation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School here.