I've never served in the American Armed Forces. Therefore, my debt of thanks is even greater to all of you who did. Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken tells a spectacular story of survival, unflinching resolve, and ultimately, love and forgiveness.
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
…an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
(from promo at Amazon listing for UNBROKEN)
My wonderful mother-in-law gave me a copy of this book. It is a spell-binding page-turner; I could hardly put it down. It brought me to tears and it gave me goosebumps. The story in itself is spectacular – what Louie Zamperini endured (and forgave) is virtually incomprehensible. Since the moment I began reading, I have come to see veterans in a completely different way. All Americans owe all those who’ve served in the Armed Forces a deep debt of gratitude. Let us remember them in our hearts and prayers for 364 more days after today.