Louis Zamperini: Top 10 Cool Facts

louis zamperini
Louis Zamperini at announcement of 2015 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Picture this: you are a superstar and everyone loves you. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, you are stuck on a small raft, alone in the Pacific Ocean with only your Maker to talk to.

Would you go nuts?

Can you even imagine this possibility?

Well, it happened to a man by the name of Louis Zamperini. And it is depicted in a movie about how this man did not go crazy even after not only this, but torture at the hands of the enemy.

I am going to give you the top 10 cool facts about Louis Zamperini; a man I highly respect and hope that I would be able to emulate throughout my life.

These facts are in no particular order. Just giving them as I get them through much research.

But first, watch the trailer and get the movie below…

Louis Zamperini Fact #1: Birth And Death

Louis Zamperini was born in 1917 in Olean, New York. He passed away at the age of 97 in 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Louis Zamperini Fact #2: An Olympic Participant

Louis was a star runner in school and decided to try out for the Olympics. Accepted, he traveled with the United States Olympic team to the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.

While he finished 8th, he showed great spirit in the last leg of the 5,000 meter race and a certain German citizen requested a meeting with Louis where that citizen told him “You are the boy with the fast finish.” That citizen was Adolf Hitler.

Louis Zamperini Fact #3: Bombadier

When War broke out, Louis enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and made a Bombadier on a B-24.

Louis Zamperini Fact #4: Criminal At A Young Age

Born to Italian immigrants, Louis and his family moved to California. The family spoke very little English and other kids would bully young Louis.

In spite, Louis was smoking, drinking and stealing before he was 10 years old. The majority of people close to him assumed he would be in prison at a young age.

It was his brother Pete who enticed him into running track in High School. This put crime on the back-burner and Louis put 110% into running.

Louis Zamperini Fact #5: Alone In The Pacific

I mentioned he was a Bombadier. On one search run, his plane was damaged badly and Louis had to crash into the wide open Pacific Ocean. He floated with 2 fellow crew members (1 died) for 47 days until they saw an island that they used anything they could grab to paddle to.

Louis admitted talking with a God he really was not sure existed during all those days.

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Louis Zamperini Fact #6: Captured

The island he paddled to was actually occupied by Japanese forces. Louis was captured by Japanese soldiers who were ecstatic they had caught a U.S. officer.

Louis Zamperini Fact #7: Jesse Owens

Mr Zamperini had a lot of inspiration in Berlin during the Olympics. After all, his roommate was the great 4 time Gold Medal winner, Jesse Owens.

Louis Zamperini Fact #8: Ocean Survival

The men caught albatross they ate and used for fish bait. They had to defend themselves against sharks. They managed through storms and it is amazing 2 of the 3 even lived through this nightmare. The one who died was wrapped and given freedom from war to the Ocean.

Louis Zamperini Fact #9: Tortured By One Of The Worst

While a Prisoner of War, Louis was tortured by a top Japanese officer listed on Douglas MacArthur’s list of most wanted war criminals.

Known as The Bird, Mutsuhiro Watanabe had a special disliking for Zamperini.

Louis Zamperini Fact #10: The Reverend Billy Graham

When Louis was finally released, he went through severe PTSD and became an alcoholic. It was a meeting with the Reverend Billy Graham that brought Louis to see a whole new light in a God who loves and forgives as we also should forgive our enemies.

Final Thoughts

When I think about all this man endured and was still able to forgive those who did him wrong, I am both astonished and also broken.

After all, a man who was truly the Son of God did the same over 2,000 years ago.

If Jesus Christ and Louie Zamperini can forgive their enemies, so should I be able to.

Maybe you don’t adhere to the Christian views on life, forgiveness and death. That is your choice and I will not argue that.

So if you do not agree or if you do agree, I welcome your comments but please be respectful. It really is not hard to do and remember that Louis served for your freedom to believe the way you desire.

I want to also add that 2 other movies were made in respect to Louis Zamperini. You can find them below.

God bless you all!

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Zamperini
  2. https://reasonabletheology.org/the-rest-of-the-story-louis-zamperini-after-unbroken/
  3. http://www.louiszamperini.net/
  4. https://deadline.com/2017/09/unbroken-sequel-billy-graham-louis-zamperini-path-to-redemption-movie-1202160181/
  5. https://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-louis-zamperini
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/arts/louis-zamperini-olympian-war-survivor-unbroken-dies.html
  7. https://bringbackthemile.com/athletes/detail/louis_zamperini

About The Author

Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at Lancerlife.com.

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