“He shook hands with Hitler, spent more than a month lost at sea, and ended up in a Japanese torture camp. Louis Zamperini has seen many days he’d rather not recall but he’ll never forget the day he met Jesus Christ.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRJrS8Vsn_Y
From his first breath, Louis Zamperini was incorrigible. Anecdotes related by his parents reveal a child who could not be contained or restrained, whose rambunctious endeavors would have certainly killed anyone with less fire in his soul. His antics led him into trouble with peers as well as police, but at the height of his chaotic youthful life, Louis was saved by his brother Pete, who encouraged him to run track.
From that point, Louis Zamperini’s story led to Olympic fame in Berlin in 1936. Unfortunately, his future as an athlete was cut short by the second world war. Future Olympics were put on hold and Louis was recruited into the army air corp where his fearlessness became legend. Then, in 1943, Louis’ plane was shot down over the Pacific, leaving him to survive against unbelievable odds. “If you get me outta this, God,” Louis said, “I’ll serve you forever.”
The stories of life in a POW camp in Japan were nearly enough to make me stop reading (listening), but I persevered because I had to know what happened to Louis. Again, survival was doubtful.
The subsequent retelling of life in postwar America for bruised and battered soldiers is enough to threaten defeat, and nearly did for Louis, if not for the interception of faith. What would happen to Louis’ promise to serve God?
For me, the final chapters of this saga were the most moving. It was as if the Louis of childhood returned in all his boundless energy and passion to change lives as his had been changed. In 1998 Louis carried the Olympic flag to open the Japan-hosted Olympics in Nagano.
I listened to the audio version of this story. Had I been reading it, I might have skipped sections because of the brutality. I’m not sure I could watch the movie, but the trailers are fascinating. I’d recommend this story to anyone interested in the resilience of the spirit of mankind and the power of faith. Unbroken is a story I’ll never forget.