Wednesday, July 02, 2014

IN MEMORY OF: Louis Zamperini (Jan 26, 1917 – Jul 2, 2014)

Photo credit:  Sally Peterson for The Wall Street Journal

Today, we lost a hero in Louis Zamperini. Zamperini died from pneumonia on July 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, aged 97. This is a quick post with a more robust post in the works.

RIP Louis Zamperini

A little background about this Hero:

Louis Silvie "Louie" Zamperini (January 26, 1917 – July 2, 2014) was an American World War II prisoner of war survivor, inspirational speaker, and Olympic distance runner. A film about his experiences, Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie and adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling book by the Coen brothers (with earlier drafts by Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson), is due for release in 2014.

  • His father taught him how to box in self-defense. Soon he claimed to be "beating the tar out of every one of them..... but [he] was so good at it that [he] started relishing the idea of getting even. [He] was sort of addicted to it."
  • Zamperini finished eighth in the 5,000 meter distance event at the 1938 Olympics held in Berlin, Germany, but his final lap of 56 seconds was fast enough to catch the attention of Adolf Hitler, who insisted on a personal meeting. As Zamperini tells the story, Hitler shook his hand, and said simply "Ah, you're the boy with the fast finish".
  • It's said that Zamperini climbed a flag pole during the 1936 Olympic games and stole the personal flag of Hitler.
  • Later in 1938, Zamperini set a national collegiate mile record of 4:08 despite severe cuts to his shins from competitors attempting to spike him during the race; this record held for fifteen years, earning him the nickname "Torrance Tornado".
  • If not for World War II and his enlistment, he may have broken the 4 minute mile ahead of Roger Bannister.
  • In April 1943, he was on a mission to search for a lost aircraft and crew. Zamperini's plane crashed and he spent 47 days drifting on a raft during WW II with 2 others. The 3 of them were the only survivors from the plane crash that had a crew of 11.
  • He was rescued/captured by the Japanese Navy and he spent more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in several Japanese internment camps suffering from severe torture/mistreatment.

For more information, please check:

NOTE: Posted 7/3/14 and backdated to 7/2/14.



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps