Overcoming Obstacles

-Louis Zamperini-

About Louis Zamperini

Louis Silvie Zamperini was born on January 26, 1917. His parents, Louise Dossi and Anthony Zamperini, were Italian. Louis was born in Orlean, New York, but he grew up in California. He was a really fast runner and he ran track in high school. This lead to him running in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Louis was meant to run in the 1940 Olympic games in Tokyo, but then World War ll started, so the games were cancelled. When the war broke out, he joined the air force. Louis got stranded for 47 days when his plane crashed in the ocean. Eventually he landed on a Japanese shore and they took him as prisoner for two years. When the war was over, he was free, but he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism. He was traumatized from his experiences, but he managed to make something good out of everything that happened to him. Louis once said, "I'd made it this far and refused to give up because all my life I had always finished the race." This quote shows just how strong he really was.
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PTSD and Alcoholism

After the war, Louis Zamperini suffered from major PTSD and alcoholism. PTSD is a disorder where a person has anxiety and flashbacks that are triggered by experiencing a traumatizing event. Alcoholism is a chronic disease where a person drinks alcohol uncontrollably. Both of these problems put a damper on his life.


Zamperini's conflict was character vs. self. After returning home from the war, Louis fell to alcoholism. He used it to push away the effects of PTSD (flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, etc.). Louis and his wife almost got a divorce. He suffered with these issues for awhile, but he eventually overcame them. In 1949, Louis heard a sermon from Billy Graham. He felt inspired, and he started to turn his life around. He then converted to Christianity and became an inspirational speaker. He also started a wilderness camp for troubled youths called Victory Boys Camp. Louis used what happened to him to help other people get through hard times in their life. Louis taught us that no matter how hard things get, never give up, because you can make it through. Zamperini had a movie made about his life called "Unbroken" and he also wrote two books. Louis Zamperini died at the age of 97, on July 2nd, 2014.

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Unbroken - Olympics Preview

My Sources


Works Cited


Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.


"8 Things You May Not Know About Louis Zamperini." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.


Berkow, Ira. "Louis Zamperini, Olympian and ‘Unbroken’ War Survivor, Dies at 97." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 July 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.