Dear Editor, once again, our possibly noisiest, and hopefully proudest, national holiday approaches. I would ask that everyone wishing to use fireworks at their homes would keep in mind that Stokes is a primarily rural-agricultural county, with valuable livestock and many pets. Horses, cows, and other livestock are terrified of the flashes and booms of sky rockets and most firecrackers, as are dogs, cats and wildlife. Loose animals will run into traffic without any thought other than to flee the noise and odor of gunpowder, and even pastured animals can break free, jump over or even through fencing (or shatter stall and barn doors) in their fear, injuring themselves and others. Veterinary bills can now run into the thousands of dollars, and one can still lose a valuable and loved animal companion.
Please, if you live near farms and families with livestock, or if you know a neighbor is a veteran who may have issues dealing from his or her combat experiences, or even if you are not sure if the veteran has been dealing with PTSD but you know it is possible, please do not use fireworks at home, but enjoy the free displays offered at several facilities around the county, and in surrounding counties. Make a picnic of the entertainment; it is safer than risking a sky rocket starting a fire on your roof, or a child being injured from proximity to a wayward toss. There is no reason to cause unhappiness at what should be a pleasurable holiday.
Also, please restrain your domestic pets, preferably indoors, in case others are not as thoughtful as you will try to be, in avoiding the use of firecrackers around others, their farm livestock, pets and near the homes of veterans and others whom you know have been traumatized.
Thank you for choosing kindness and thoughtfulness to others, over the upcoming holiday, and may your holiday be filled with the joys of good companionship and a safe celebration.