WWII Vet Leads Off CU Veterans Day Tribute

by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH

Cedarville, Ohio-On May 27, 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, leaving him floating at sea for 47 days. He was rescued by Japanese sailors, only to endure experiments and torture as a prisoner of war until freedom came in 1945. Louis Zamperini, whose war experiences are just one part of his amazing life story, will speak at Cedarville University on Wednesday, Nov. 8 and will give his testimony in the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Zamperini's life is the stuff movies are made of. A record-setting runner, he competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he was singled out by Adolf Hitler for a handshake. He went on to fight against the Axis of Evil as a U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant, which led to his plane crash in the Pacific Theater and his years as a prisoner of war.

After his release in 1945, Zamperini sought a "normal" life, but he was plagued by nightmares about one of the Japanese soldiers who tortured him. Turning to alcohol, Zamperini saw his life teeter on the verge of disintegration. But through a Billy Graham crusade, Zamperini made the life-changing decision to become a believer in Jesus.

With his newfound faith, Zamperini found he could forgive his Japanese captors. He began giving inspirational speeches, encouraging others toward reconciliation. He also founded the Victory Boys Camp for high school drop-outs and wrote a book, Devil at My Heels (2003), which chronicles his life adventures.

Zamperini's message of history, hope, and reconciliation will begin at 10 a.m. in Cedarville University's Dixon Ministry Center. The session is free and open to the public.

In addition, Zamperini will take part in the University's Veterans Day ceremony (Thursday, Nov. 9). This annual event, which is free and open to the public, features patriotic music, stirring presentations, and the opportunity to recognize veterans and active duty personnel (who are encouraged to attend in uniform).

The Veterans Day ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in the University's Dixon Ministry Center. For general information, call 937-766-4159.

Both the Zamperini and Veterans Day presentations can be heard on CDR Radio, The PATH® , at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. as well as online at www.ThePath.fm. CDR Radio, The PATH®, is a community-supported media ministry of Cedarville University.