America has lost one of its greatest men after Louis Zamperini died at the age of 97. Zamperini’s incredible life began as the son of Italian immigrants, growing up in California. He soon excelled at long distance running, and competed in the 5000m at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin at the age of 19, finishing 8th. But his final lap was the fastest lap ran that day, and Adolf Hitler was so impressed he asked to talk to Zamperini.
Only 5 years later, he enlisted in the Army and after 2 years of service, was on a rescue mission over the Pacific Ocean when his plane crashed. Along with two other men who survived the crash and shark attacks, Zamperini spent 47 days on a small raft, fading to only 80 pounds. After one of his fellow survivors passed away, Zamperini and one other man were “rescued” by a Japanese vessel, only to be taken to a POW camp. His family assumed he had died, and he was given a hero’s welcome in 1945 when he returned after receiving freedom when the war ended. If his life sounds like a movie, it will be the end of this year. Angelina Jolie is directing Unstoppable, a movie based on the incredible life on a truly incredible man.