This is a story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who joined armed forces during the second world war. Not many of you have heard of him. But his story of survival, resilience, and redemption is a story to tell, a story to teach in middle school. I got to know about him last night only when I watched, Unbroken.
Unbroken is a story of Louis Zamperini, who despite all the difficulties, hard times, refuses to give up. He might even be the strongest person on earth.
So what exactly is his story, Louis Zamperini, was a younger kid in his family. Just like any other younger kid, he doubted his abilities. He used to think he is nothing and his life has no purpose. His thinking didn’t change until his big brother Pete motivates him. He motivates him to make it into the track team.
And I’m quoting Pete here,
“If you can take it, you can make it. You train and you fight way harder than those other guys. And you win. You can do this, Lou. You just gotta believe you can.”
This was the turning point for Louis, he finally started believing in himself and he train harder and harder from that day. It was like the only thing he needed was that little motivation. Believe me, a little motivation; a little inspiration can do wonders.
He went on becoming the fastest high school runner in American history which eventually led him to the 5000m race for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He finished 8th in the event.
But little did he know about life. Life was hard on him. After that Olympic event, he joined armed forces during the Second World War. Unfortunately, on a search and a rescue mission Zamperini’s plane crashed in the ocean. This is the moment where Life had his grip on him and started to break him. But Louis was strong. He didn’t give up. He fights his way back till he can.
After drifting at sea for 45 days (Yes you heard me right, he survived sea for forty fucking five days), he was captured by Japanese and was taken to a prison camp in Japan where he was tortured. The commander Watanabe was a sadistic and frustrated man and he treated Louis with cruelty since he was Olympian.
The torture included getting the beating of his life every day. There is this scene so brutal, where the commanding officer asks his fellow prisoners to punch him in the face, one by one.
He takes the beating but still didn’t give up on life. He had this motto of him, all through the hard times that if he can take it, he can make it. That’s what kept him going through all the dark times.
“If I can take it, I can make it. My brother used to say that. He used to think that I could do anything. He use to think that I was better than I am.”
Just when I thought what worse can happen, this happens. He is working in coal mines, barely ate anything and it’s freaking hot out there. The commanding officer orders him to pick a heavy plank over his head and if he drops it, he gets a bullet in the head. This was the breathtaking and defining moment of this movie. He looks him into the eye and lifts even higher. This gave hope, strength, and inspiration to other prisoners.
The Japanese office just couldn’t believe what he saw. One thing which annoyed him the most was when Louie looked into his eyes. And there he was lifting wood which weighs more than him and looked straight into his eyes. Even the commanding officer cried that day seeing his strength, his resilience. Lousi was a hardheaded and brave man and was not broken by Watanabe, resisting his torture and inspiring his mates in the camp.
After this finally the war ended and he did make it back to his home. He is a true inspiration for all of us.
Fight back. Stand up for yourself. Life can be really harsh sometimes but you cannot say no to life, you gotta take your stand because nothing is stronger than you, not even a single problem of yours.