On Friday, Karen and I took Paul Moeller to see a movie, UNBROKEN, after the book by Laura Hillenbrand. I became familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini's amazing life when my cousin Gary, from Chatsworth, met Zamperini, signing books in a book store. He said "...at age 94 the guy exuded energy and moved around like he was a young man." He died July 2, 2014 at 97.
rarely go to movies, but I knew if I didn't take time-out and go on the
last day it showed in nearby Angels Camp, I'd probably never see it on
the "big screen".
is a similar character in ways. He can no longer drive, he's had
several strokes, he is impaired but he continues to haul wood, paint the
deck, travel to Germany alone, since his wife died, whatever it takes
to carry on. His attitude is always, positive, can do.
But fortitude beyond measure embodied Zamperini. It is the story of a kid who fought to grow up when attitudes against "Wops"
, or any immigrant, was ugly. His hero brother encouraged him to get
revenge by being successful. He did that by becoming a track star at his
high school and going on to medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He
enlisted in 1941 and showed himself, his fellow prisoners and through Hillenbrand's
book, the world, about enduring unspeakable torture. His is not only a
story of torture, but survival, resilience, and redemption.
felt she had to do justice to his and his fellow POW's most searing
memories. After the war, he drank, he was full of rage, shame and
suffered flashbacks and constant nightmares. And, once again, he
persevered, changed his life and became a virtuoso of optimism. He quit
drinking, repaired his marriage and his life and went on to open a boys
camp and become an inspiration to others.
got thousands of letters and emails from people saying the same thing.
'I never understood my father, my husband or grandfather, what they went
through. Why he was in so much pain, why he drank.'
and forgiveness heal. He wanted his suffering to be meaningful, and it
was. The movie was about his survival and torture, and it was great to
see it acted out, but read the book for the full story.