In a Fox News article, Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son) writes about the faith of Louis Zamperini, the ‘Unbroken’ hero. This is a hugely important part of the story because among other things, Mr. Zamperini was eventually able to forgive his Japanese torturers.
For a time he enjoyed the celebrity of heroism and hob-knobbing with Hollywood. He met and married a beautiful woman named Cynthia Applewhite and life was good. But when all the glitz and glamour faded and reality set in, reoccurring nightmares of war and memories of Louie’s torture by his enemies tormented him.
To escape these horrors, Louie turned to alcohol. Pent-up anger overcame him.
His wife who genuinely loved him felt she had no choice but to divorce him. The man who had endured horrific physical and mental abuse, and emerged unbroken from the ravages of war, had succumbed to an enemy that would not let go — himself.
Now compare this story to the story of another survivor of Japanese brutality during WWII, Betsy Heimke. Whereas Zamperini was able to eventually forgive his captors and be truly freed from their influence because of his ability to forgive, Ms. Heimke still remains a prisoner to her captors because she cannot forgive them and that is just heartbreaking.
No one should expect any Louie Zamperini-like absolution from her.
Zamperini was an American bombardier who was held as a POW and tortured by the Japanese after his plane went down in the Pacific. Part of his story, as told in the best-selling book “Unbroken” and now a movie that opened Christmas Day, is that after the war he traveled to Japan and forgave the guards who mistreated him.
When asked whether she could do the same, Heimke lifted her eyes from her scrapbook and locked onto those of her questioner.