BAYONNE, N.J., Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Louis Zamperini, a runner in the 1936 Olympics, served in the U.S. Air Force as a bombardier in the South Pacific during World War II. When his aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean in
April 1942 he and another crew member survived in a life raft for 47 days, drifting 2000 miles until they reached land, only to be captured by the Japanese Navy. He was held in captivity and tortured in a series of prison camps, and for three years the sadistic prison guards tried to break his spirit with verbal and physical cruelty.
When the war ended in
Zamperini decided to become a missionary to
, preaching the gospel of forgiveness to the very guards who tormented him. His remarkable power of example inspired
, President and owner of Henry Repeating Arms to create a Henry Golden Boy Military Service Tribute Edition rifle featuring a custom serial number combing his initials and date of birth LSZ012617. The rifle was presented in a display case with a brass plaque engraved "Presented to Mr.
2013 – Thank you for your service to our Country and for teaching us about courage, survival and the power of forgiveness".
During the presentation Imperato stated, "We salute and thank Mr. Zamperini for bravely serving our country with dignity and perseverance. His incredible courage and ability to forgive those who tortured him during the War are an inspiration to all." Henry Repeating Arms will manufacture a limited edition series of rifles in tribute to Mr. Zamperini, the proceeds of which will be donated to the POW MIA Foundation, a not for profit organization ran solely by volunteers and veterans dedicated to giving closure and assistance to the families of missing or imprisoned soldiers, as well as attend to the needs of wounded soldiers returning from more current wars.