There is a saying, “Things happen for a reason”. This is true for Louie Zamperini, a boy who often got into mischief as a child but was given the opportunity to show his talents. His brother Pete noticed a talent in Louie and decided to guide him into becoming a runner. His brother’s guidance helped Louie stay out of trouble. Louie discovered his gift of running after he started winning races and achieved awards. Louie was an amazing runner and became an Olympian in Berlin. Louie was in High School when he received the opportunity to run the Olympian race.
Throughout his life journey, Louie continued to discover surprising things about himself and others. Unfortunately, Louie’s life did not continue to be glorious for long. Louie joined ended his career in running to join the military. While in the service, Louie and his crew were out on search trying to rescue a fallen plane and as they flew over the Pacific Ocean their plane crashed. Louie, Phil, and Mac were the only plane crash survivors. They spent many days in the water without any food, drinking water, or shelter.
According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “Louie demonstrated that if they were persistent and resourceful, they could catch food, and both he and Phil felt inspired” (143). The quote describes their will for survival and it demonstrates that regardless of the conditions, they discovered the motivation to live. While trying to catch something to eat they felt the urgency to quit, and after finally catching food they gained faith. Laura Hillenbrand is the author of the book Unbroken and number one New York Times bestseller Seabiscuit: An American Legend.
Certainly her book exhibits the American spirit and the different characteristics Americans are composed of. Americans are known for achieving goals through hard work and determination; moreover, many individuals feel a sense of pride and freedom. Another characteristic of an American is striving for individualism. Discovery has led our nation to be extraordinary. In Louie Zamperini’s case he discovered many traits within himself to keep his American spirit alive while he was captured by the Japanese in prisoner of war camps. The combination of characteristics Americans encounter cause a particular trait to be distinctive.
The special trait ist I trait is the spirit of discovery, which inspires people of America to be creative and imagine beyond what already exists. One for example would be the first colonists who arrived to America. To start, Europeans crossed over a continent and discovered free land. They came from a place where there were many laws and were excited to be on a land that was free to explore. According to Linda Thompson in America’s First Settlements, “However, the first European explorers of the New World were not looking for new places for people to live.
The sailors who arrived from Spain, France, England, Portugal, and other countries were actually seeking a sea route to the Orient. For the first time, Europeans were building ships that were large and seaworthy enough to sail into the uncharted waters of the West” (6). During their travels, they discovered land, though by accident thinking they were far East, and they continued to come back until it was okay bring more civilians. They entered a land of wilderness and had to learn to be humble to get along with the people whom they traveled Westward. The Frontier was the pioneer’s margin of settlement.
According to Richard Slotkin in The Fatal Environment, “The difference between this and the original Frontier thesis is one of emphasis and precedence, rather than either/ or not distinction. It should not be necessary to deny the truth of the assertion that the discovery of New Worlds and mother lodes does indeed reshape Metropolitan expectations and interests, and does materially alter the political economy of both colony and metropolis” (43). To illustrate, places or land that have not been touched; or simply underdeveloped locations are influenced by cities that are already established both in political and financial views.
In the Europeans case the Frontier they discovered was new. However, the pioneers had ideas of how they wanted to reshape the land. According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “They (Louie, Phil and Mac) had known that they were drifting, but without points of reference, they hadn’t known in which direction, or how fast” (133). Louie and our founding fathers had to survive with whatever crossed their paths. The pioneers and Louie were in the middle of nowhere and they did not know where they would end up. They had to use whatever skills and ideas they had learned in the past to survive.
Discovery is a trait that many Americans inherited throughout the years. The discovery of America by pioneers long ago was the beginning of the frontier. Along the way, as pioneers traveled westward, they also discovered new people and languages. Native Americans were on the land prior to the arrival of European settlers. Pioneers were a threat to their society. However, over the years, together with new people, they joined and discovered new ideas and began building this country. The trait of wanting more comes hand in hand with discovery.
As more was discovered, people expected more. For example, if a well of water was discovered, people would work on ideas to get more water out of that well. According to Made in America, Frontier life historian Darren Rutman points out, necessarily entailed a “web of reciprocal obligations and responsibilities,” Given limits of travel and communication, “how else was the world to be organized, but on the basis of the small, direct, personal? In cooperation lay the means for the subsistence of the individual” (102).
To clarify, America has not been a country of total peace and freedom. Americans continue to have different opinions on laws and order of this country, but discovered what has worked in the past and what works in the present. If they had not discovered how to get along with each other, it would have been harder to move west. Pioneers were given limited access to travel and could not communicate effectively with relatives or friends. Pioneers had to have patience while they discovered new ways of traveling and developed the skills and technology Americans use now.
In the aspect of his ability to being a talented runner, Louie Zamperini was a pioneer of winning. Though many have pioneered winning, for Zamperini it was something new and he wanted more. According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “Focused on winning in Tokyo in 1940, he smashed record after record at multiple distances and routinely buried his competition by giant margins, once winning a race by one hundred yards” (40). The quote reveals how Louie wanted more wins and pushed himself racing to see what else he could accomplish.
Most Americans enjoy discovering new things and striving for more. Furthermore, the trait of discovery can be that of self-fulfillment. Discovery is to gain sight or knowledge of something. According to Jim Cullen in The American Dream, “On the other hand, simply having a dream has sustained, even saved, lives that otherwise might not be deemed worth living” (7). Americans do not discover land anymore, but they build on discoveries from the past by reading books and researching. For example, railroads were created to send merchandise throughout the country.
The idea was later expanded and became a way of traveling. Sometimes people bypass a solution to a problem and can find the answer by researching a book written by someone or about someone who had the same problem one hundred years ago. According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “Men carried airdropped items into town, where they cautiously met friendly civilians and traded goods for shave, haircuts, and souvenirs” (317). Louie and the POW captives were finally free and because of technology were able to get food delivered to them by a B-29.
Discovering has influenced science and health. Americans discover new ways to cure and control diseases. In the past, people died due to many incurable diseases and illnesses. People are vaccinated now for different types of diseases that are rarely around in America because of these vaccines. According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “Just as at Ofuna, beriberi and other preventable diseases were epidemic at Omari” (235). Louie and the POW captives could not be saved from the diseases spreading because they were being tortured and not nurtured.
In the same manner, Europeans encountered many diseases that at the time were not discovered yet therefore did not have a cure or vaccine. Medicine has made it possible for people to live longer. Discovery is the basis for the knowledge doctors have of the diseases that are around and how to prevent them. Doctors continue to discover new ways to help people and save lives. Scientific curiosity has drawn man to discover outer space. Scientists have made it possible to leave machines in space to monitor and send signals back to earth for various experiments.
According to Judith Viorist in The Changing Earth, “On July 20,1969, billions of people around the world were glued to their Tvs to watch Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong as he descended the ladder of the Lunar Module (LEM) Eagle, symbol of the United States, which had just landed near the equator of the moon on the Sea of Tranquility. He was the first man to set foot on the moon” (71). The technology that made it possible for a man to step foot on the moon was a discovery that opened endless experiments and more opportunities to discover our world.
According to Laura Hillenbrand in Unbroken, “The POW’s thought that he must have meant one raid with many bombs, but he man kept repeating that it was one bomb. He used the word “atomic. ” The word was unfamiliar, and no one knew how one bomb could wipe out a city” (301). One can argue the discovery of the atomic bomb was a catastrophe that led to continuous consequences after; but in Louie Zamperini’s case, it saved his tormented life. The atomic bomb put an end to all the abuse he and the POWs were receiving endlessly in prison camps.
These accomplishments were made possible because of the American spirit of discovery. The men who stepped onto this land would have never imagined that they would be discovering beyond what this untouched free land would expand to. Unquestionably, Americans continue to discover new things, places, ideas and ways of living. Discovery is a spirit most Americans embrace and has been used as motivation for survival by many people on this earth. Louie Zamperini discovered his ability to run and also the skills needed to survive through the challenges and trials of his life. Someone from the past discovered America because of heir determination and perseverance.
Americans are filled with many prideful feelings that make this country great. Americans would not have anything to see or learn from without the trait of discover. According to Ray Allen Billington in The Frontier in American Literature, ‘The true point of view in the history of this nation is not the Atlantic coast, it is the Great West” (277). From this we can conclude that the true point of beginning for this Nation was not necessarily the Frontier itself, but all the discoveries and trials along the way that built this country.