Oct 222012
 

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.
Voice 2

And I’m Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

[audio:http://spotlightradio.net/media/audio/lo/se-5305m.mp3|titles=Spotlight – A Man at Peace]

Voice 1

A small group of people sit together. They are sharing a meal in a restaurant, a public eating place. The men have not seen each other in several years. When their food arrives, it includes a small serving of rice. Without warning, one of the men shouts in anger. Why would a small serving of rice make someone so angry?
Voice 2

One of the men at the table was Louis Zamperini. Louis has been many different things in his life: a star runner, a soldier, a prisoner. He experienced many terrible things. These experiences almost destroyed his life. But now, Louis Zamperini shares an unexpected story. A story of hope and forgiveness. Today’s Spotlight is on the life of Louis Zamperini.
Voice 1

In 1943, the United States and Japan were at war. Louis was a soldier in the United States Air Force. But in the month of May, his airplane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Only three men survived. The men had a small boat, but they did not have food or water. They hoped for rescue. But no-one came for them.
Voice 2

The men floated for forty seven days on the ocean. They drank rain water and they caught a few fish and birds to eat. They faced many dangers. They fought sharks. Enemy airplanes shot at them. The United States military told their families they were dead. Finally, one man did die.
Voice 1

They floated more than 3000 kilometres. Finally, Louis and the other man were found. But the men who found them were Japanese soldiers. Louis and the other man were now prisoners.
Voice 2

Both men were very weak. Each had lost half of their body weight. They could not stand without help. They were given some food and put in a hospital for two days. After that, the Japanese military sent them to a prison camp for captured soldiers.
Voice 1

For the next two years, Louis stayed in the prison camp. The conditions were terrible. He had very little food to eat – usually just one small serving of rice each day. It was the memory of these meals that made the men angry many years later.
Voice 2

The guards forced him to work hard. And they beat him often. One guard took a special interest in Louis. The prisoners called this man “The Bird.” The Bird hurt many people, and he hurt Louis most of all. Every day for one year, the Bird tortured Louis. He beat Louis with a long belt from around his waist. He hit Louis with his hands, and with hard wooden sticks.
Voice 1

Why did the Bird choose Louis for these beatings? No one knows for sure. But it may be because of who Louis was. Before World War Two, Louis had been a star sports player. As a runner, he had set records. And he competed in the 1936 Olympic Games. The Bird knew about this success. It may have made him feel important to beat someone who had been great.
Voice 2

The war finally ended in 1945. Like thousands of other soldiers, Louis returned to his family in the United States.
Voice 1

But things did not go well for Louis at home. He continued to suffer. He had left the prison camp. But he could not forget his experiences. These bad times were always with him. He could not sleep at night. In his dreams, The Bird would visit him and beat him again.
Voice 2

Three years after the war had ended, Louis was not at peace. He felt lost. He was often angry. He dealt with this by drinking alcohol. But it did not help. He got into fights. He only wanted one thing. He wanted to return to Japan. He wanted to find The Bird and murder him.
Voice 1

During this time, Louis met a woman named Cynthia. They got married. But Louis’ problems continued. Some nights when he was fighting The Bird in his dreams, he would attack his wife instead. Finally, Cynthia decided to divorce Louis.
Voice 2

Then, in 1949, Cynthia went to an event that would change their lives. She went to hear a Christian minister named Billy Graham. He was speaking in large meetings to many people. Graham’s message was simple. He talked about Jesus Christ. He said that Jesus Christ offered peace and forgiveness to all people. He said that following Jesus changed people’s lives. As a result of his message, Cynthia decided not to divorce Louis. She had changed. She believed that Louis could change too. The next day, she asked Louis to go and hear Billy Graham’s message.
Voice 1

Louis agreed. But the message made Louis uncomfortable. He left in the middle of the meeting. His bad dreams, drinking and fighting continued. But Cynthia did not stop. She asked him to go hear the message again.
Voice 2

This second meeting changed Louis’ life. He became a follower of Jesus Christ. That night, for the first time since the war ended, Louis did not dream about The Bird. Through Jesus Christ, peace finally came to Louis. This peace continued for the rest of his life. Louis became a Christian speaker. He shared his story with other people. He even travelled to Japan. Earlier, he wanted to hurt the guards who had hurt him. But now, he had a different message. He forgave his former guards. He had new love for his former enemies.
Voice 1

In 1998, the Olympic Games were in Japan. At the beginning of every Olympic Games, there is a special ceremony. It involves the Olympic torch. The torch holds a fire. It travels around the world, from Greece. People from many countries carry it for short distances, all the way to the Games.
Voice 2

That year, Louis carried the torch in Japan. He carried it past the place where he had been a prisoner. Crowds of Japanese people cheered for him – people who knew his story, and his experiences. Louis felt great joy and great love. He was a man at peace. He told the news organization CBS,
Voice 3

“I think back to 1945, when we left the prison camp. It was such a horrible place in our minds. I could not look back. But when I leave here today, I will look back. And I will never forget.”
Voice 1

The writer of today’s program was Jeff Munroe. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at http://www.radioenglish.net This .program is called “A Man at Peace.”
Voice 2

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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