December 06, 2014

About two years ago, during my stay at Lebanon penitentiary a friend of the family sent me a book about the life story of Louis Zamperini. I remember every detail of this book, the stories about all of his experiences growing up and all of the suffering that Louis had to go through during the war was an amazing feat for one man to endure, it’s no wonder they made his story into a movie. As I read this book I could almost feel what Louis was going through, yet impossible to imagine just how difficult it must have been. In World War II, the bomber Louis was flying in crashed into the ocean, stranded at sea on a raft, drifting across the ocean for 47 long days with no food or water, dying of thirst and starvation, with sharks circling the raft, trying to get a piece of him and two other men that survived the crash, one of the men died at sea. Japanese fighter pilots would fly over them, circling back to shoot at them for target practice. 47 days later they drifted to shore, only to be captured and sent to a Japanese war prisoner camp where he and his surviving friend were tortured and starved even more. So much pain Louis must have suffered, but he held on to the hope and faith that one day he would be released and sent back home to his family. This book gave me hope and strength when I really needed it the most, it made me realize that life could be much worse and if Louis could go through what he did and still hold on to hope for the future then so could I. Before the war Louis was one of the fastest 1 mile runners in the world, in fact he broke a world record for that time and age which was around 4 minutes. This gave me the drive and motivation to start running myself, well this book and all the books I read about Michael Santos running for 26 years in prison. I just can’t wait to watch this movie someday; I only hope it’s just like the book.

Steven Dybvad

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