This powerful video comes from the 2011 SoCal Harvest event at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California. Pastor Greg Laurie invited Louis Zamperini to share his life story with the throng of people there.
Be ready to be inspired … and then be sure to see the rest of Louie’s incredible story when UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION opens in theaters September 14.
In the latest installment of “My Dad’s Unbroken Legacy” video blog, Luke Zamperini gives us insider info as to how Louie was able to recall for author Laura Hillenbrand so much of what had occurred at the Japanese prison camp.
It turns out Louie, along with many other prisoners, had secret diaries that they kept. Learn more about this practice and discover some of the content from Louie’s diary!
It took one amazing lifetime to live it. It took Laura Hillenbrand years to research and write about. But the day after he died in 2014, Louis Zamperini’s life was captured in a New York Times obituary. In part, it reads:
“When he returned to the United States after the war and his ordeals at sea and as a prisoner, he fell into alcoholism and nearly ended up divorced from his wife, Cynthia. They remained married, however, for a total of 54 years until her death in 2001. His survivors include a son, Luke; a daughter, Cynthia Garris; and a grandchild.
Mr. Zamperini straightened out his life, he said, after hearing a sermon preached by Billy Graham. For years afterward, he worked in commercial real estate and remained physically active into his 90s, skiing, running, mountain climbing and skateboarding. He was prominent on the lecture circuit.”
The Atlantic magazine ran an interesting piece after Louis Zamperini’s death in 2014: an interview with the World War II hero himself. To read Louie’s words provides his take on some of the key moments that are at the heart of UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION—including Louie listening to Billy Graham preach in 1949.
“The one thing he said that shook me up was, ‘When people come to the end of their rope and there’s nowhere else to turn, they turn to God.’ I thought, That’s what I did on the raft. All I did was pray to God, every day. In prison camp, the main prayer was, ‘Get me home alive, God, and I’ll seek you and serve you.’ I came home, got wrapped up in the celebration, and forgot about the hundreds of promises I’d made to God.”
Our friends at the Billy Graham Association created a wonderful documentary on the life and faith of our favorite Olympic and World War II hero. Called Louis Zamperini: Captured By Grace, the documentary shares how Billy Graham was used by God to change the direction of Louie’s life.
A newspaper clipping nearly 70 years old recently found its way on to Twitter. Talk about worlds colliding! The AP newswire story was about the Billy Graham tent meetings in Los Angeles in 1949. A section of the story reads:
“Graham’s oratory is eloquent; his doctrines are home-spun. From the singing, shouting multitudes, thousands have hit the sawdust trail and announced publicly their decision to return to Christ. One of them was a brilliant track star at the University of Southern California before the war. His name is Lou Zamperini.”
If you like history, there’s a lot for you to love about the real-life main character of UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION. In fact, the History Channel website has an article highlighting “8 Things You May Not Know About Louis Zamperini.” In the movie, we see Louie’s desire to regain his athletic prominence as an Olympic runner. But did you know …
“Following his strong showing at the 1936 Olympics, Zamperini shattered collegiate records at the University of Southern California and became one its most celebrated student athletes. At the time, a sub-4-minute mile was considered a near-impossible feat, but as Zamperini’s profile grew, many began to whisper that he might be the man to pull it off.”