Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

I never want to minimize anyone experiences, because whatever someone is going through may seem like a small hill to someone else but to the one that is going through it, it may seem like a huge mountain. But, there are some people who have really gone through the fire and are conformation that "nothing is impossible for us."

One Sunday while haphazardly watching some Sunday morning news, I saw this story on Laura Hillenbrand and Louis Zamperini, author and the man that the book Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience, an Redemption is based on, respectively. And I knew that I must find out Laura and Louie's story. To that end, I instantly downloaded the book and the journey began.

Let's start with Laura Hillerbrand, the author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience, an Redemption. Laura has chronic fatigue syndrome and from 2007 to 2009, she never left her house. She had never met Louie face-to-face, but she wanted to tell his story. They did all of their communication through the telephone, and Laura wrote his story. Laura says of her writing "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually." To write this book she had to rely on old diaries, interviews, and the National Archives. Being that she can not leave her house, she had to rely on friends to go to the National Archives and dig through lots of papers in order to write this story. (If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible.) 

Laura Hillenbrand
Louie's story is a true testament that "nothing is impossible." Louie was a WWII soldier. During the war, the plane that he was on crashed during a rescue mission, and everyone on the plane was killed except Louie and two others. They floated on rafts for forty-seven days. Their journey on the life raft reminded me of Pi, from the The Life of Pi, who was was also stranded on a raft for quite along time. However, Louie's story is true, and Pi's was completely made up. 

Laura notes that faith determined who would survive the forty-seven days on the raft: 
"Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louie and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work toward survival, and each success renewed their physical  and emotional vigor. Mac's resignation seemed to paralyze him, and the less he participated in their efforts to survive, the more he slipped... Louie and Phil's optimism, and Mac's hopelessness were becoming self-fulfilling."
Needless to say, both Louie and Phil survived the ordeal, and Mac did not.....
This part of the book made me stop and think about how our view of things becomes self-fulfilling prophesies. Do you know people who always think and believe the worse and the worse always happens, and don't you know people who always expect things to work out and they always do. I wonder which person are you and I. Anyway.... I could take up the whole day to tell you about things that have happened in life that truly happened because of my faith: buying a condo with no money in the bank, loosing my wallet in New Orleans and everything worked out better than ok, quitting jobs and the next better job was right around the corner. (If you have faith the size of a mustard seed...)

After surviving being on the raft for forty-seven days, Louie and Phil were captured by the Japaneses and became Prisoners of War. The things that they went through were unimaginable, and I really wonder how did Louie and several other men survive such harsh treatment? But, they did. (Anything is possible.)

Today Louie is in his 90s and is still going strong. His story and Laura's story are both stories of faith and what can be done when we believe.

This book is a must read. You will learn so much about WWII, survival, faith, redemption and a whole lot more.

Listen to Louie's story:

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, speak to your situation.......

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