American Legion hosts quiet Independence Day celebration for veterans

OLATHE, Kan. -- While some were enjoying the loud bangs and pops of fireworks on Independence Day, others chose much quieter fun. For veterans with PTSD, those sounds, and for some even the smell, can be triggers with unpleasant results.

At a gathering in Olathe Tuesday night, that wasn’t a problem. It has all the makings of a great Independence Day celebration. Face painting, hot burgers and brats sizzling on the grill, he friendliest of smiles and waves, and a whole lot of homemade family fun.

It was a great way for the American Legion Post 153 in Olathe, to honor our nation's heroes and give back at a time when some say help for veterans is dwindling.

“These folks are out there risking their life and limb to protect our way of life, and so when they come back if they`ve got an issue we should be taking care of them if they`re hurt,” said Andrew Darling, 2nd vice commander for American Legion post 153.

What you couldn’t find at the Independence Day celebration were fireworks and for a very good reason.

“There are a lot of PTSD folks that don`t like those loud bangs especially when they first come back from the service, so this is a place they can come have some fun without the loud noises,” said Darling. “The noise and sound I just don`t like,” said World War II veteran Clifton Baldwin.

He doesn`t like the noise, or the smell of fireworks.

As folks  exercised the right to celebrate the day as they chose, Baldwin hoped the younger generations didn’t forget about those who have fought to help make it so.

“Well I don`t think they understand. They don`t realize what we went through,” said Baldwin. “I`m concerned right now with the way things are going and looking."

Folks also got to chance to support veterans by donating to the tiny houses for homeless veterans project, offering veterans more than shelter.

“They don`t just do the house. They actually will find out about that person and they`ll buy them clothes and they`ll buy them a laptop. They`ll buy them all kinds of things that will get them started,” said Darling.

This is the first year American Legion Post 153 has put this event together.​