Louis Zamperini was born to an Italian family in Olean, New York on the 26th of January, 1917. After Louie caught pneumonia as a two year old, Louie's parents decided to move their family to the warmer climates of the small town of Torrance, California. Louie grew up as a mischievous child in the town of Torrance and later attend Torrance High.
To keep Louie out of trouble, Louie's older brother, Pete, got him to join the track team. Running became his addiction. Louie got so good that he was recognized as one of the best high school milers and was projected to be the first to beat the four-minute mile.After Louie graduated high school, he decided to go to the same college as his brother, Pete, who would help him train for the 1936 Olypmics. Louie didn't make it the first time but later qualified for the 1936 Olympics and performed greatly in the Olypmics. Louie continued college and track. Louie would join the Army after and become a bombardier with a pilot named Phil. The plane they used was named Super Man
After most of the original crew died, Louie, Phil and the other Super Man veterans were transferred to another squadron. They were assigned a new crew and a faulty plane that would barely stay airborne, called the Green Hornet. On their first mission with the Green Hornet, they crashed at sea. The only people that survived the crash were Phil, Louie, and Mac. Mac was their new tail gunner. The 3 surviving men were stranded at sea for 47 days and only Louie and Phil survived. Louie and Phil were captured by the Japanese and were sent to POW camps. Louie and Phil switched camps many times and survived the extreme abuse of the Japanese for two years. The POWs were going home
Many POWs found that life was different and a struggle. This was the same for Louie. As did many of the other former POWs, Louie suffered from severe PTSD. Louie would drink as a result of the PTSD. One night at a bar Louie met a girl named Cynthia. Within two weeks of Louie and Cynthia dating, Louie would talk Cynthia into marrying him. Because of Cynthia, Louie would stop drinking. They would later happily marry at the end of the summer. Louie would start running again and train for the 1948 Olympics but his old war injury would end his running career. Louie began to drink again and Cynthia and Louie's marriage would struggle because of that.
Louie and Cynthia's marriage would really struggle for a while. Louie constantly drank and had a plot to kill one of his tormentors. Louie and Cynthia would later have a child and Cynthia would decide to leave and go back to her parents after finding Louie shaking their crying baby. After a while, Cynthia came back to Louie so they could arrange their divorce. At the same time a Christian evangelist named Billy Graham would come to town and Cynthia went to go listen to him speak. That night when she came home, she spoke how she was spirtiually awaken and that she would like Louie to go.
Louie refused at first but would reluctantly agree to go. Louie reluctantly went a couple times but one night, Billy Graham's sermon gave Louie a flashback of a promise Louie made to God but had forgotten. That night, Louie would be saved. Louie had a new outlook on life and even agreed to meet some of his tormentors in Japan. Louie would forgive his tormentors and his desire to kill the Bird would go away. Louie Zamperini would go on to become a Christian evangelist and carry the Olympic Torch in for the 1998 Olympics in Japan, the same country he was tortured in.