Stretch of 405 Freeway to Be Named After Torrance World War II Veteran

State lawmakers agreed Thursday to name a two-mile stretch of the San Diego (405) Freeway in Torrance after Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini, who grew up in that city.

The Senate approved a resolution by Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Torrance, clearing the way for the portion of the highway from Redondo Beach Boulevard to South Western Avenue to be renamed "Louis Zamperini Memorial Highway."

An effort is underway to raise $5,000 to pay for two signs displaying the new name to go up on the highway, said Amanda Budhram, a spokeswoman for Hadley.

The eventful life of Zamperini, a resident of Torrance who graduated from the local high school, was dramatized in the movie "Unbroken" and a best-selling book of the same name.

As a young man, Zamperini showed talent as a track runner, setting local records that won him the nickname the "Torrance Tornado," and earned an opportunity to compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics. But his biggest test came when he enlisted with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

While on a search and rescue mission, the plane Zamperini was on crashed. After spending 47 days on a raft in the Pacific, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese, who tortured him during his two years of captivity.

Zamperini returned home following the war and set up a camp for troubled youth. He became a Christian evangelist, sharing with others his experience of achieving peace by forgiving the Japanese officers who tortured him.

Zamperini died at the age of 97 in 2014, following a bout with pneumonia.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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