Louis Zamperini is a USC Trojan Alumni, U.S. Olympian and World War II Prisoner of War survivor. As an inspiration to all, Louis is coming to share his story on staying courageous and strong in the face of adversity, building lasting relationships, witnessing over 9 decade of US and World history and what membership in the Trojan family has meant to him. His incredible life's journey has been documented in two books, one called "Unbroken" and written by the author of "Seabiscuit", Laura Hillenbrand. The story is on its way to becoming a Hollywood Universal film directed by actress, Angelina Jolie. This event in Bovard will consist of a short movie on his life followed by an in depth conversation with Louis himself and Q&A open to the audience. The opportunity to hear about survival, resilience and redemption from the hero himself is truly once in a lifetime.
About Louis Zamperini
Many people thought Louis Zamperini would not live long beyond his formative years, and on many occasions they were almost right. As a child of immigrants, Zamperini was often in trouble with the authorities in his home town of Torrance, until a police officer and older brother Pete suggested that he use his fleet feet for sport instead of mischief. By the end of high school, Louis had become a world class runner, setting a world high school record in the mile. He qualified to run on the 1936 Olympic team in Berlin, placing 8th in the 5000 meter and covering the final lap in an astounding 56 seconds - catching the attention of Hitler.
Following the Games, he enrolled and competed for the University of Southern California (USC) as a part of many national record breaking teams. He and his brother were members of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After graduation he elected to retire from the running sport and join the U.S. Air Corps as a bombardier in the South Pacific during World War II. On a routine reconnaissance run, his aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and Louis and another crew member survived in a life raft for 47 days, drifting 2000 miles into Japanese controlled waters. He was held by the Japanese as a Prisoner of War for two years.
When the war ended, Louis returned to Torrance, California to a hero's welcome. Shortly after his return and finding spiritual enlightenment, he became a missionary to Japan, preaching the gospel of forgiveness to the very guards who had tormented him during the war. His book, "Devil at My Heels" was an astounding record of Louis' life. Louis created the Victory Boys Camp for wayward youth, where he teaches juvenile delinquents the skills to succeed in life. He carried the Olympic Torch in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games held in Japan. He and his wife, Cynthia, raised two children of their own. Today, at 96 years old, Louis is still spry and full of life.