Last year one of the most unexpectedly powerful books I read was Unbroken the story of Louis Zamporini who was an Olympic athlete who was part of the greatest generation. He went into the air force where he served his country in fighting Natzi oppression. Zamporini had many close calls and one day as he was flying a reconnaissance mission in his plane in the south pacific his plane was shot down. Zamporini spent 47 days at sea and finally found land in the Marshall Islands. He was taken by the Japanese as a Prisoner of war. He was held for over two years in horrible conditions and was tortured daily. Once freed at the end of the war he was still captive to the painful memories of the things that happened at the hands of the Japanese soldiers. Louis turned to alcohol to drown the painful memories.
Everything changed when Louis met Jesus at a Billy Graham Crusade. Louis experienced redemption that was more than token spirituality. He experienced forgiveness and because of the forgiveness he was able to go back to Japan and tell his former captors in person that he forgave them.
Louis Zamporini is a hero, an athlete but most importantly a forgiven child of God. Zamporini’s life inspires me to endure, to love to experience forgiveness and to extend forgiveness. Today Louis was reunited his wife his friends, fellow soldiers and most importantly with his savior. People like Louis Zamporini are the reason they refer to his generation as the greatest generation. We will miss Louis Zamporini. His story is an inspiration if you haven’t read Unbroken read it. It is a powerful story of redemption. Louis thanks for your life of faith thanks for your life of inspiration.