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tv   On the Record Special  FOX News  January 2, 2015 1:00am-2:01am PST

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laden. there's no way i could have gotten out. as i sank i lost consciousness. >> louie's courageous story is portrayed in a new movie and book "unbroken." but there's more to his story. >> just unbelievable. told many his own words. >> my life was completely changed ever since. >> louis zamperini, a man of courage and faith.
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he passed away in july. in 1936, competing in the olympic games, in 1941 enlisting in the air force and in 1943 in a search and rescue mission he crashes into the ocean leaving his family convince head was killed in action. but zamperini zamperini stuck on a life raft in the open ocean and captured by the japanese and held by a prisoner of war. still suffering with depression and post-traumatic stress until he meets the reverend billy graham. and now to talk about this story of survival and revival, the president and ceo of the billy graham eadvantage listic association. why -- what was his relationship
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with your father? >> he was a war hero and the whole country knew him. torrance named their airport after him thinking he was dead because he was so well known as an olympian and his heroism in the second world war. my father was just a young preacher. but he was holding a meeting in 1949. he was asked by a group of christian businessmen and some pastors to come and hold a service in washington and hill downtown los angeles, they put up a big tent and louis zamperini's life was falling apart. he was an alcoholic. he was -- his marriage was failing. his wife had already filed divorce papers. she was leaving him. but she went to hear my father. this young man no one heard of.
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she gave her heart to jesus christ and her life was changed. and she came back and said i gave my life to gee vus christ and i'm not going to divorce you. he was thrilled and excited about. that she asked him to come hear -- finally she kept pressuring him and he came. the first night he heard my father he got up and he stormed out. he didn't want some preacher telling him he was a sinner. he knew he was a sinner but he didn't want someone else telling him that. he ran out and said he'd never come back. but a couple nights later his wife convinced him to hear billy graham again. and my father at the end of his message, louis zamperini got up to leave again. and as he got to the aisle he remembered the promise he made to god when he was floating for 47 days in the pacific surrounded by sharks and he told
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god if you get me out of here, i'll serve you with my life. and that night, louis zamperini went forward. when he gave his heart to jesus christ, he took his alcohol and dumped it down the sink. he threw away his girly magazines and cigarettes. and he began to look for his bible. he had been given a bible when he was in the military. when he plane crashed they sent all his belongings back and in there was this bible. he began to read it and study it. his life was changed that night. he and my father became friends as a result of that he came to some of my father's meetings and share what happened to him and give his testimony. you would have loved him. he was a good guy. >> there is a new movie out, "unbroken" based on the book called "unbroken" the book
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only -- the movie only goes so far. it does -- >> chapter 33. >> but it is where your movie picks up is post 33. >> it is. >> and why -- what happens post 33? >> when he came back he talks about in the -- in the book, "unbroken" how when he comes back he is a hero. people will buy you drinks, come tell us your story and that's the way his life was. but he began to depend on alcohol. at night he couldn't sleep. he had nightmares of this tormenter. he was a japanese soldier by the name of the bird. he beat him and tortured him. and one night he thought he was choking the bird. he wanted to kill the bird. it was his wife. and just scared her to death and scared him. and this is what he tells us how
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his life was beginning to fall apart and alcoholism, losing his wife and that's what the rest of the book -- laura hildebrand did a wonderful job of capturing. >> the last time your father saw him was when? >> about two years ago. he came to the billy graham library to do a book signing with the book "unbroken" and he did some video which is on this piece that fox is showing. we did that then at that time. and then he went to see my father and he had a long visit. >> who decided or how did it happen that you put together this movie? >> listen, he's such a character, louis zamperini. i first met him a couple years ago doing operation christmas child out of long beach. we had these jets carrying shoe boxes to europe and louis zamperini wanted to be a part of it and we have pictures of him
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in the cockpit of the jet. >> did you know of him at that point? >> oh, yes. and he was one of the nicest men. you would have loved him. just a fine christian gentleman. when he came to the library we realize wed have the videotaping. we've got to get his story. at that time we didn't know if anyone would ever use this material. and so -- angelina jolie did a tremendous job but the movie stops at chapter 33. >> which is the perfect point for your movie to pick up to tell the rest of the story. >> thanks, stand by. two events transformed louis zamperini's life. the torture he endur
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second his journey to faith. he spoke about his life with the billy graham eadvantage listic association and now the event that changed his life forever. >> lstz was part of the great estrog est generation. the generation that fought in world war ii. his steps are a little more frail but inside he has the heart of a hero. in 1943 he was stationed in the south pacific with one purpose in mind, to win the war as quickly as possible. >> i was master bomb deer on a b-24 bomber. and bombing the pacific was a big task because the targets were thousands of miles apart. >> from an airfield louis and his fellow crew attacked each mission head on, always ready to
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load up and take off in the bomber appropriately called superman. >> our first big raid was wake island. but we came in at 8,000 feet with heavy bombers and dive bombers surprised us. we had a big mission against -- just north of australia and we were told to lay it in waste. i got my target a shack, which i considered a radio shack but it was a fuel supply. smoke shot in the air as high as we were. nine japanese zeros took off. they hit us every pass. they came in so close. we shot down three zeros but not before taking on 600 bullet holes, five cannon holes. and we just barely made it.
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we crash landed. >> the horrific battle left one man dead and seven others seriously wounded. with their plane badly damaged the remaining crew members were transferred to hawaii for reassignment. one fateful day that reassignment came. >> the operation officer comes out and says hold it, we just got a report that a b-25 crashed in the sea and we want you to search for it. we were assigned a bomber called the green hornet which was a lemon. we were reluctant to take it but we had to. as we began to search the sea number one motor went out. and number two went out.
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plane just heeled over to the left and hit the water and blew up into a big fireball. the plane sank. i felt my ears pop. but i keep on sinking and pretty soon i feel pain in my forehead. i only have time to say god help men and i lost consciousness. and then i'm conscious again. i'm confused. i couldn't figure it out. this must be the afterlife. i should have been dead. >> in fact, everyone else aboard the green hornet was dead except for the pilot, russ iell philip and the tail gunner. >> i pop to the surface swallowing fuel and blood. i saw a life raft. i grabbed it. and then we started our drift of
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47 days in the south pacific. >> the trio would eventually drift 2,000 miles over those 47 days, surviving on a little rain water, a few fish and an occasional bird. >> it was then for the first time in my life that i began to pray. i said, god, if i survive this ordeal, get back to america alive, i'll seek you and serve you. >> staying alive took grit and tenacity. characteristics that guided louis through a troubled youth. as a boy, louis learned to rely on himself to fight his way through trouble. there was no place for faith. >> well, i have no faith. i went to church. but nothing ever happened. my mother gave me a dime and i would go down in the basement, climb out the back window and go on the roller coaster or buy a
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hot dog. that was my typical teenaged years. >> fast becoming a juvenile delinquent his older brother urged him to find a focus. this high school running track seemed to be his salvation. a natural athlete, louis excelled to the point of setting a new world record for the high school mile. there was talk of a spot on the 1936 olympic team. but that was then. right now, louis needed more than just a win. he needed a miracle. >> a miracle eventually in store for louis zamperini but it was not the one he was looking for. up next, his ordeal in the pacific continues as a prisoner of war and in a p.o.w. camp. but would international fame as
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an olympic athlete save his life. >> i shookokokokokok
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spring of 1943, airman louis zamperini, cold, starving, and left for dead in the pacific ocean. but seven years earlier,
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zamperini running in the 1936 olympic games and he captured the attention of the world. the fame he earned as an athlete would be ultimately saving his life. our special continues. >> on their 27th day at sea, the men heard what sounded like motors in the distance. >> the plane came down and we thought it was an american plane. and it was a japanese sally bomber and we recognized the red circle after they opened fire on us. and then they spent 30 minutes circling and firing on us. now it's a small raft. >> they stayed in the raft because they were weak. i dove in the water with the sharks. every time a shark would make a pass i would hit him in the nose. the shark would go off one way and i would come back into the
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raft. >> the tiny raft had 48 holes. the men patched as best they could. on the 33rd day of their ordeal, sergeant francis mcnamara died. his raft mates slipped his body overboard and waited for their time to come. but on the 47th day, the raft was lifted high on a wave. and the men saw land. >> before we could land on one of the deserted islands a japanese patrol boat saw us, picked us up. we couldn't stand up. two days there and they put us on a ship and said you are going to an island. we considered it an execution island. all prisoners are sent there for
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interrogation and execution. we are put in the cell. flies and mosquitoes. they gave us experimental injections in our veins. i'm getting dizzy and i'm going to pass out. they were using us for guinea pigs. and then they set our day of execution. >> it was louis' athletic success that would now halt his execution. >> through these streets rides adolf hitler to open the 1936 olympiad. >> he had earned that spot on the u.s. olympic team at just 19 years old. he ran the last lap of his 5,000 meter race so impressively that he was congratulated by adolf hitler. >> japan followed american
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athletes closer than americans did. they wanted me to make broadcasts. that's why my life was spared. >> as a japanese prisoner he would face abuse but he was alive. a fact that no one knew back home. the u.s. government classified him as killed in action. >> they took me on the radio. they wrote the script and it was propaganda. and they said you will go to punishment camp if you don't read this. >> louis was put on a train to horrific japanese prison camp. >> i was in camp 4b. eating seaweed three times a day. the only meat we got was a dog that they captured in the city. i think we lost 80 guys in one winter. >> starvation and hard labor
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were not the worse of louis' daily demons. a camp guard seemed obsessed with breaking the young officer. the torture was relentless. >> the disciplinary officer, they called him the bird. when he looked at me with those sadistic eyes, i looked away and he punched me out. why you no look at him and then i looked at him the next day and he beat me for looking at him. his belt was a half inch thick with a big steel buckle. he took that off and hit me across the temple and knocked me to the floor. blood spurting out of my head. i was constantly tormented by the guy. you talk about hate. i wanted to kill him. >> louis lost nearly 100 pounds.
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now weighing a maker 65. >> coming up, the war ends and louis zamperini gets his freedom
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i took every single thing into perspective trying to figure out what in the world happened when i could come to no conclusion as to my escape it was then for the first time in my life that i began to pray and i thanked god for having spared my life because there had to be some kind of a divine intervention otherwise there was no explanation for what happened. >> 1945 japanese surrender.
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louis zamperini becomes a free man but the end of the war is just the beginning of zamperini's struggle. his life was about to transform in ways she could nevin, louis . >> after two years of ruthless torture, louis's fate suddenly changed. >> a plane flew over and we thought maybe the war is over. >> in august, 1945, japan surrendered. the allies had won. and louis was finally going home. >> i saw my family for the first time in about three and a half, four years.
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while we were celebrating, victory in europe and now officially in japan. and coming home as a soldier you get a hero's welcome, everybody treated me and took me out for parties and dinners and i'm taking advantage of all this notoriety. it was just unbelievable. >> he even met a beautiful debutante named cynthia applewhite. was love at first sight and marriage quickly followed. on the outside, life was better for louis. but inside, deep scars remained. >> because of the bird, i had nightmares. because of my life in prison camp and resentment about many things that had happened in prison camp, i had nightmares because of those things. the nightmares were every night.
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i couldn't get rid of it. i went to the v.a. hospital and the psychiatrist. they didn't help. until one night i woke up strangling my wife instead of the bird. and that scared me. it scared her. it got worse and worse. it didn't gradually go away. it got gradually worse. >> louis was free from the physical clutches of the bird. but unbelievably he was still in a battle. it would prove to be the greatest fight of his life. >> coming up, one of reverend billy graham's crusades, changing louis zamperini's life forever. >> i lost everything that i possessed outside of my wife and little girl and it was then that my wife was able to persuade me into going down to that meeting into going down to that meeting at washington and hillllllllllll
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you fill up my senses ♪like a sleepy blue ocean ♪you fill up my senses ♪come fill me again
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special. when they introduced billy graham, i had already pictured in my mind what an eadvantage list looked like. and here is this athletic clean cut type and that impressed me. and i was impressed when he began to speak. >> louis zamperini, a world war
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ii veteran and subject of the movie and book "unbroken" he survived a crash in the pacific, 37 days adrift and two years of torture at the hands of the japanese. but after he came home nothing made him happy until a chance meeting with the reverend billy graham. here again, louis zamperini. >> the nightmares started in prison camp. because of the bird i had night mares. i would stand there with my fist clenched. i wanted to grab him and strangle him. the nightmares were every night. i couldn't get rid of it. i began to drank. and when i'm drinking, i completely forget about my ordeals. and that's a temporary comfort. >> it was a temporary comfort that louis began to crave.
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as his addiction grew, the irony was clear, alcohol was his tormenting enemy. >> it got gradually worse. and finally out one night drinking and my wife was fed up with it and she knew our marriage was ruined and she had a little girl to take care of and she said i've had it. she decided to file for divorce. >> cynthia was heart broken but had no other options until she accepted an invitation from a concerned neighbor. >> young guy came over and said oh, boy the way, there's a young eadvantage list coming out and having a series of meetings and i'm inviting you to go with me. >> that man was billy graham. not yet nationally known. this would be his first major outreach in los angeles. >> at the corner of washington and hill street in the city of los angeles.
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the largest tent ever erected for a revival meeting is ready. it seats 6500 people and the tent is filled to capacity day after day. >> she came home speaking of this new peace and joy she had in her heart and she tried to witness to me and i wanted no part of it but she said -- she had already papers for divorce. because of my conversion i'm not going to get a divorce. well that was good news to me. i loved my wife. she was beautiful, brilliant and devoted. and that softened me up. >> louis reluctantly went with his wife only to storm out of the tent that first night. >> i said, now don't ever try to get me back to a place like this again. but she knew this was her only hope and i said i'll go on one
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condition. when that fella says every head bowed and every eye closed i'm out of there. she got me back there the next day. and the second night i heard the gospel. >> our scripture tonight is taken from amos the fourth chapter and the 12th verse we read these words prepare to meet thy god. >> and he started to quote scripture and i said, i don't need you to tell me i'm a sinner. i know i'm a sinner. then he said a couple of unique things that really stabbed me in the heart. >> i do not believe that any man can solve the problems of life without jesus christ. there are tremendous marital problems. there are physical problems. there are financial problems. there are problems of sin and effort that cannot be solved outside of the person of our
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lord jesus christ. >> all of my near death experiences my life never passed before my life. but when he quoted scripture my life passed before my eyes and when he mentioned people in serious trouble almost all turn to god in prayer. was i in serious trouble? yeah. did i have serious problems? yes. that crash and life after and so forth. and you pray, what do you do in prison camp? you pray morning, noon and night. get me home alive and i'm seek you, i'll serve you. i'd never remembered that until billy graham started quoting the scriptures. >> do you know christ? are you sure? are you certain of it? all you have to do is let jesus come into your heart. >> i started to leave and i
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started to feel guilty about my life. my life passed before my life. i saw my lovely wife. i had a lot of experiences and escapes from death but i didn't like my life after the war. it was terrible. and i thought what a heel. i came home alive and god kept his promise and i didn't keep mine. so i went forward and send christ. -- accepted christ. i knew i was still getting drunk. i was through smoking and i knew i had forgiven everyone including the bird. and that was the first night i never had a nightmare. >> coming up, louis' transformation from wounded warrior to soldier of god. >> louis zamperini was an american war hero. he was 47 days on a life raft
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floating in the pacific. and he began to drink when he way home and he was confused and frustrated and mixed up in his life and he too wandered into that tent on washington and hill in los angeles and found christ as his savior. and tonight he is the direct over the victory boys camp for juvenile delinquents in los angeles. giving his full life to
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the greatest challenge of my life took place at the billy graham tent meeting here in los angeles in 1949 in a tent at washington and hill street when i was faced with a decision an all important decision. what did i think of jesus christ. and would i receive him as my savior. >> louis zamperini spent years recovering from the pain of being a prisoner of war but everything changes after meeting the reverend billy graham. >> the next morning i got up and grabbed my army new testament.
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in the service we couldn't understand the bible. so we just discarded the bible. now i found my new testament which was sent home in my foot locker and i sat under a tree and began to read. for the first time i understood what the bible was saying. not all of it but i understood the plan of salvation and christ on the cross and tears began to fall down my face. conversion is a miracle. understanding the scripture is a miracle that is proof that the spirit of god had come in your heart. >> the change in louis' heard called him to something extraordinary. not long after he accepted christ, louis was back in the land that prisoned him. >> i spoke to the 850 total and
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then i gave an invitation and i said that we just are presenting the gospel to you. christ died on the cross for your sins and he was buried for three days and was again alive over 50% raised their hands. i saw my guards and identified them as they walked down the ai his former captors came forward. >> this was a thrill to me to see these men and know for sure that the forgiveness was total. this billy graham thing is a phenomenal miracle the way it started. and the way i got saved. i have spoken to hundreds of thousands and had my testimony in papers where millions read it.
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>> louis' special connection to billy graham lasted decades. in june, 2011, he made a cross country flight to see his old friend and take a tour of the billy graham library. >> thank god for billy graham. he's indelible in my heart and mind. the heart of my story. the heart of my whole life. >> oh, wow. >> look at that sign. >> memories of the greatest day of my life when i came to christ. it's indelible. >> also indelible on louis' heart are the scriptures that came alive to him in 1949. through the years they fed his soul. he found undeniable truths that were deeply personal. >> in my distress i called to
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the lord and called on my god for help. he reached down from on high, took hold of me and drew me out of deep water. i tell you when i read that, tears came to my eyes because that's exactly what happened. the greatest question that anyone can face is what have you done with jesus christ? >> coming up, more on reverend billy graham and the missionary work of louis zamperini.
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we're back with reverend franklin graham. reverend graham, it's
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interesting about louis zamperini. he went back to japan after everything they did to him. >> when jesus christ, greta, came to stay at centers, franklin graham is a sinner. louis zamperini is a sinner. but god sent sinner, zamperini is a sinner. god sent his son to the earth and he died for our sons. he will come into anyone's life for anyone who is willing to trust him. zamperini was at the end of his road when he saw god and he saw how much god had forgiven his sins. he felt he had no choice but to go back to japan and forgive those who had mistreated him. he went back a few years later and he wanted to meet the bird -- he never did. he avoided coming to justice but the other guards, they were able
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to capture, he went back and told him, i forgive you because god has forgiven me. he shared with these japanese soldiers, they were now pows. he shared with them what god had done for him in his life and why he could forgive them because when he went forward that night to receive christ in my father's temple in los angeles, he hated the japanese. he wanted to kill these men that had tortured him. it wasn't just him but all of his buddies. some of his buddies died in that pow camp. he wanted to kill them. but god changed his heart. that's what god does. he changes hearts. he does it one heart at a time. louis zamperini's heart was changed and changed for e eternity. >> it's interesting. here is a man who had enormous success as an athlete. he dodged the bullet in the military -- i don't know about
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that. he had alcohol -- his whole life seemed like on the skids and a dramatic change. meeting your father, being inspired by what your father was preaching totally changed his life around. totally. >> it was the word of god that touched his heart. he had a wife praying for him and he had made a promise and a prayer when he was adrift at sea for 47 days, he had made that prayer to god. he had forgotten all about it until that night he heard my father and he remembered that he had told god, i will serve you the rest of my life. so that night when he went forward, he was keeping -- keeping his word that he had given to god a number of years earlier when he was objen the s adrift for 47 days. >> what are the mechanics for putting this movie together? do you have a team down at billy graham to put it together? >> we did. our team did this. it's a tremendous piece.
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it's louis zamperini telling it himself it's not me or someone else. it's him. and it's the rest of the story. >> he died last july so i take it he didn't see -- certainly didn't see the finished product. did he see parts of it? not of what we did but of course he saw what jolie did. she showed it to him on her computer when he was in the hospital. she did an excellent job. she's a very talented lady and excellent job in following the book up to chapter 33. >> your father, is he able to watch this? >> yes. he will watch it. yes, he sure will. >> how is he doing? >> thank you greta for asking. he's doing pretty good. he's 96. he doesn't hear real good but he will watch this and we'll turn the volume up real loud. >> people will come and see this movie. obviously they'll see it on fox news. what are you hoping people get out of it.
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>> i want them to know the rest of the story. that god can change your life. maybe they are in alcohol or maybe they are losing their family or lost their family and they don't believe there's any life. i want them to know that god loves them. louis zamperini would want them to know that. he made sure that she put that in there what god did in his life because if god can do it for zamperini or franklin graham, he can do it for anybody. it doesn't matter where you are in life and what you have done, god will forgive your sins and he will heal your heart. there's only one way to god in faith in jesus christ because he's the only one in history to take our sins. >> do you come across a lot of people who hit the skids and heard your father preach and things turned around because your father preached for so many decades? >> sure. i meet people like that greta, everyday in life. people who are at the end of the rope and have no hope and they are looking for the season to
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their life, why am i hear? what's the purpose? they find god through faith in his son jesus christ. >> why do you think his father was so affective at reaching people? >> it was god who did it but he never sought to be famous. even today, he doesn't see himself as a celebrity or well known person. he just sees himself as a preacher. god uses his word -- when we stay faithful to the word of god as preachers, god takes that word and he drives it into people's hearts. he speaks to a person's heart. it's not -- it's not my father who was a great communicator, he just preached god's word and god honored that. >> it must be really fun for your father -- realize he's an older gentleman now but in the late 40s speaking one night and reaching a particular person in this case louis zamperini, totally changing his life and over the years, to see the affect. i mean, to see what a god man
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louis zamperini was. >> my father was always humbled by it greta. he always gave god the glory. he never thought well look at what a great guy i am or what a wonderful job i have done. he never thought like that not even to this day. he gives god the glory. he said god be the glory. >> i think louis zamperini was a little bit that way too. >> he was. >> and lived a wonderful life and an inspiration for so many. >> he sure was. >> franklin, thank you very much for joining us. it's good to see the remaining chapters of this book to find out what went on in louis zamperini's life. it was amazing. thank you sir. >> louis zamperini, an american hero surviving a plane crash enduring 47 days trapped at sea suffering through torture by the japanese but that's not all. the war hero devoting his life to missionary work but did zamperini consider himself a hero. his answer might surprise you.
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>> what happens is i come home and get three purple hearts. i go to the va hospital and i see guys in wheel chairs where legs off, two legs off, arm off. i took all of my medals and put them in a drawer and shoved them away and haven't seen them since. to me the real people are the ones who lose their limbs and things like that. >> the inspiration through and through. thank you for watching, goodnight.
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