The Life of Louis Zamperini
Louis Zamperini was one of the few men ever to live who simply refused to be broken. I hope someday people can look back on my life and I can be considered to have anywhere close to the same amount of character that Louis portrayed throughout his life. A character built by the accomplishments of becoming an Olympian, surviving 47 days at sea without water and very little food, and Japanese POW camps. Louis had the will to win, survive and to never give up no matter the odds; without it, these feats would have never been possible.
Louis Zamperini was born in Olean, New York, on January 26, 1917. “ When Louis was just two years old, Louis and his family moved from Olean, New York, to the small town of Torrance, California, with the population of just around 1,800 residence, just south of Los Angeles” (Hillenbrand 5). He was the second of four children born to Louis and Anthony Zamperini, who were both Italian immigrants. Louis’s Italian ethnicity resulted in many fights at school. After Louis’s father saw him come home regularly with bruises, his father decided to teach him how to defend himself. Then the problem quickly turned from him getting bullied, to him doing the bullying. This was only the start of Louis’ rebellious streak.
Louis’s ethnicity played probably the biggest role in his rebellion. “In Torrance in the early 1920’s, Italians were held in such disdain that when the Zamperinis arrived, the neighbors petitioned the city council to keep them out” (Hillenbrand 8). Not until his father taught Louie how to defend himself and fight back, Louie was subject to a lot of beatings, all because of his ethnicity. Although he would usually end up lying on the ground, covered in blood, he never once cried or tried to run away from it.
“His father taught him how to work a punching bag and made him a babul from two lead-filled coffee cans welded to a pipe. The next time a bully came at Louie, he...