Struggling with post-traumatic stress after World War II and angry at God for the evil he endured, the late Louis Zamperini turned to alcohol.
He self-medicated, trying to wash his nightmares away and drown his flashbacks in a sea of drunkenness. But it didn’t work. Instead, his alcoholism only caused more pain, bringing he and his wife, Cynthia, to the brink of divorce.
Then the Rev. Billy Graham, who died earlier this year, came to town.
Graham was in Los Angeles, where he was holding a tent revival. After much convincing, Zamperini agreed to go with his wife to the event. He walked out the first night, shaking his fist at Graham and God.
But something changed on the second night of the revival. Zamperini, who after surviving for 47 days on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was taken prisoner for two years by Japanese soldiers, encountered God and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
In that moment, his PTSD was gone, the veteran’s son, Luke, told Faithwire.
“He couldn’t fix his PTSD,” Luke Zamperini said, noting his father’s incredible resourcefulness. “That took the work and person of Jesus Christ to do that. So the night that he walked into [Billy Graham’s] tent in Los Angeles, that all changed for him.”
Luke Zamperini went on to say his dad’s PTSD “left him immediately,” a development he described as “a miracle.” It should be noted the veteran’s son made clear that won’t be the experience of every person struggling with PTSD, but said they shouldn’t lose hope.
“God caused that miracle to happen to put an exclamation point on a story,” he said.
Zamperini’s story is the subject of the forthcoming movie, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” which premieres Friday. The film’s second installment comes after the 2014 movie “Unbroken,” based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book by the same name.
For more information about the movie, a joint project between Universal and Pure Flix, click here.