Inspiration for a blog post has been hard to come by lately. I am getting so burned out with the lies and dirty campaigning going on that I can't even keep up with it from day to day. One minute it's Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years and the next it's Romney being blamed for killing someone's wife. I had to take a little break and today I decided to tell an inspiring American story. Since we are in the midst of the 2012 Summer Olympics, I thought the story of a former Olympian turned WWII hero would be interesting and a nice break from the daily onslaught of terrible news.
Louis Zamperini was a participant in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and a World War II Army Air Force Bomber who was captured and held in a Japanese POW camp. I had never heard of Mr. Zamperini until today. My cousin, Debbie, posted a little blurb on her Facebook page that she just finished a terrific book called, Unbroken: WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, written by Laura Hillenbrand. It's the story of Mr. Zamperini. Here is a link to a video ad for the book.
The video below is from a FNC report:
Mr. Zamperini's life history should be an example to all of us.
From a Wall Street Journal article:
"...Unbroken" details a life that was tumultuous from the beginning. As a blue-collar kid in Southern California, Mr. Zamperini fell in and out of scrapes with the law. By age 19, he'd redirected his energies into sports, becoming a record-breaking distance runner. He competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin where he made headlines, not just on the track (Hitler sought him out for a congratulatory handshake), but by stealing a Nazi flag from the well-guarded Reich Chancellery. The heart of the story, however, is about Mr. Zamperini's experiences while serving in the Pacific during World War II.These are the stories we should be telling our children. True stories about the American heroes who overcame hardships and sacrificed so much for our country.
A bombardier on a B-24 flying out of Hawaii in May 1943, the Army Air Corps lieutenant was one of only three members of an 11-man crew to survive a crash into a trackless expanse of ocean. For 47 days, Mr. Zamperini and pilot Russell Allen Phillips (tail gunner Francis McNamara died on day 33) huddled aboard a tiny, poorly provisioned raft, subsisting on little more than rain water and the blood of hapless birds they caught and killed bare-handed. All the while sharks circled, often rubbing their backs against the bottom of the raft. The sole aircraft that sighted them was Japanese. It made two strafing runs, missing its human targets both times. After drifting some 2,000 miles west, the bullet-riddled, badly patched raft washed ashore in the Marshall Islands, where Messrs. Zamperini and Phillips were taken prisoner by the Japanese. The war still had more than two years to go.
For 25 months in such infamous Japanese POW camps as Ofuna, Omori and Naoetsu, Mr. Zamperini was physically tortured and subjected to constant psychological abuse. He was beaten. He was starved. He was denied medical care for maladies that included beriberi and chronic bloody diarrhea. His fellow prisoners—among them Mr. Phillips—were treated almost as badly. But Mr. Zamperini was singled out by a sadistic guard named Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known to prisoners as "the Bird," a handle picked because it had no negative connotations that might bring down his irrational wrath. The Bird intended to make an example of the famous Olympian. He regularly whipped him across the face with a belt buckle and forced him to perform demeaning acts, among them push-ups atop pits of human excrement. The Bird's goal was to force Mr. Zamperini to broadcast anti-American propaganda over the radio. Mr. Zamperini refused. Following Japan's surrender, Mr. Watanabe was ranked seventh among its most wanted war criminals (Tojo was first). Because war-crime prosecutions were suspended in the 1950s, he was never brought to justice..."
God Bless Our Veterans and Our Troops who are still on active duty. These are the heroes we must lift up to our children...the heroes who are the antithesis of the liars and cheats in DC. Those despicable cowards who occupy Capitol Hill and the White House and who will say anything and do anything to acquire power...the power that is going to destroy the greatest country in the world. You know who they are.
I am sad to report that Louis Zamperini died today.
An Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, has died. Louis Zamperini was 97. Read more...