World War II Perseverance: The Life of Louis Zamperini

Unbroken, a movie directed by Angelina Jolie and distributed World Wide, recounts the tale of U.S athlete, World War II veteran and P.O.W Louis Zamperini. The film came to the cinemas and took everyone by surprise, helping us recount and relive the story of this war hero. It’s hard not to love it. The storyline focuses on Zamperini, who against all odds was able to survive a P.O.W camp in Japan.  Louis Zamperini was an olympic distance runner and a World War II bombardier from an Italian family who migrated to the United States. Learning that the true seat of power lay in Self- mastery, Zamperini was able to beat the odds as a young man, an athlete, and eventually a prisoner of war in Japan, by believing that “ If you can take it, you can make it.”


With the exception of the details about Zamperini’s life highlighted in the film “Unbroken”  There are still many key points left out about the life of Zamperini. Here are some of the things you may not know about. There is much to learn from Louis Zamperini’s life, one of the main lessons being endurance and perseverance in the face of challenges.


How he got to the Olympics

In the old days, olympians had to pay their own way to the olympics. Zamperini’s father worked on the railroad tracks, this provided a way for him to get a ticket. His tenure as a runner in high school, and success as an athlete after abandoning a life of petty crime and juvenile delinquency won him the hearts of the people in his neighbourhood. His neighborhood and some Torrance merchants eventually raised money for him to make his way to the olympics.


He spent 47 days lost at sea

You may have seen this in the movie already, but there is much more to tell about the obstacles Zamperini faced. On May 27, 1943 Zamperini and his crew were engaged in a search and rescue mission when their plane crashed. Zamperini and some members of the crew were adrift on life rafts with little to no provisions. Surviving on rainwater and occasional fish, his friend Francis McNamara died of starvation and illness on the 33rd day. Zamperini and Allen Phillips’s raft stayed adrift for two weeks before capture by the Japanese Navy.

Carter Boehm explores the life of athlete and WWII veteran Louis Zamperini


Here’s a great clip from the 700 Club about the life of Louis Zamperini.


To read more about the triumphs of this war hero visit this extended post by the History Channel.