Blogs » Helping Hands » Warrior's wounds might not all be visible


I have a story planned for Monday's paper about a former World War II prisoner of war. I never met Alfred Zbranek. In fact, he died on April 19 at 97 and will never see the story. But writing about him has impacted me, especially given the recent Warrior's Weekend activities, the ongoing Field of Honor and Memorial Day. As his cousin Lillie Mae Shafer told me, Zbranek never really was the same after he came back from the war. Was it the combat -- as he documents in numerous writings, Zbranek saw plenty of action -- or the 20 months as a prisoner of war that changed Zbranek? Shafer said Zbranek was never able to work, never married. Kept mostly to himself. During World War I this might be called shell shock, during WW II combat stress reaction. In this day and time, we'd probably diagnose him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We'd get him help. God bless those who come back from combat with visible wounds, a lost limb for example. But let's not forget those who come back from the ongoing wars and the ones that have preceded them with wounds we cannot see. God bless men like Alfred Zbranek. I thank them for their service and their sacrifice. Visible or not.