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A Light in the Night
International Fireworks Competition Raises Concerns for Dogs and Veterans
The first-ever International Fireworks Championship is set to make a thunderous debut in Traverse City, Michigan, on September 9, 2023. As highlighted in the MLive article, this event promises to deliver a spectacle of color, sound, and creativity. However, while many will no doubt be thrilled by the pyrotechnic extravaganza, it’s crucial to consider the potential impact of this event on some often overlooked members of the community—dogs and veterans.
Fireworks, though beautiful and exciting to watch, are often accompanied by loud noises that can be disconcerting, even traumatic, for certain individuals and animals. Dogs, in particular, are known to be extremely sensitive to these loud sounds. They can experience high levels of stress and anxiety, which can even cause them to run away in fear, potentially leading to them getting lost or injured.
Similarly, some veterans, particularly those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), may find the loud sounds of fireworks triggering, as they can mimic the sounds of combat. Veterans have served our country, and their comfort and peace of mind are paramount.
It’s not a call to cancel the event but rather a call to implement measures to minimize potential harm. One possible solution is creating designated quiet zones in the vicinity of the event where sound-muffling techniques could be used to reduce the noise. These zones could provide a safe space for dogs and veterans sensitive to the loud sounds.
Another solution could be to provide the community with ample notice about the event, particularly the expected noise level and duration, so that those affected can make appropriate preparations. For example, pet owners could create a safe and quiet space for their pets, or even arrange for them to stay somewhere else during the event. Similarly, veterans or others who might be distressed by the noise could plan to be away from the area during the competition.
Traverse City is set to host a vibrant spectacle, one that will undoubtedly draw a crowd and possibly pave the way for more such events in the future. It is crucial, though, that as we push the boundaries of entertainment, we remain mindful of the impact on all members of our community. As the saying goes, “Inclusivity is not about making everyone join in; it’s about making sure no one feels left out.”
The International Fireworks Championship holds significant potential for bringing the community together and boosting local tourism. Nevertheless, as the details of the championship continue to be worked out, it is my sincere hope that the organizers will also consider the needs of those among us who might find the beautiful but loud display of fireworks a source of distress. After all, true success for such an event lies not just in the magnificence of the spectacle, but also in the consideration and care shown to all attendees—two-legged or four-legged, local or visiting.