The book, which I just finished, and the movie, which I can’t wait to see, is a story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption according to the author, Laura Hillenbrand. It is non-fiction. A true story. One that will make you laugh, cry and renew your American pride and spirit.
It is amazing. A page burner. I ate up every word, and was never full. I always wanted more. I fell asleep to this book every night for the past week, as it is almost 500 pages long, and not a word skipper, as some easier reads are.
He was an Olympic athlete, a long distance runner. If it hadn’t been for the war, he probably would have broken the 4 minute mile.
While in his POW camps, he was brutually beaten, in both body and mind, by a sadistic man, who I think caused him more pain after the war than during it.
I could go on and on about the book, and Louis Zamperini, but the biggest thing I got out of this book was a new appreciation for all that our soldiers have gone through for us. World War II was a brutal war. About half way through the book, I started thinking of my father, and almost replaced Louis with my dad in my mind.
My dad was not a POW, but he was on a ship, the U.S.S. Boston. He never spoke to us kids about his war experience, and now I know why. Even though he was not a POW, being in WW II was no picnic. He did talk a bit about his experience during Typhoon Cobra to my older cousins. It sounded very frightening, and he said he was lucky enough to have the top bunk (6 high) so he didn’t get vomited on. There is a book about the U.S.S. Boston called Baked Beans that I might get that details many of the ship’s experiences. I do know my dad talked about being anchored in Tokyo Harbor after the atomic bombs for the signing of the Japanese surrender. In fact my grandma always said his lung cancer was caused by the radiation he was most likely exposed to. A marine commander and his men from the ship were on the ground hours after the bombs were dropped.
So I did feel there was an affinity between the two men, who were in the same war, in the same area of the world, at the same time. They were both in typhoons, and both witnessed the end of the war.
Louis Zamperini had many demons to deal with after the war. I’m sure my dad did too, in his own way . I wish I could talk to my dad now, after understanding a bit more about the atrocities of war.
Tonight I’ll have to star gaze, and find his.