WWI Museum proudly hosts screening of ‘Unbroken’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Triumph and resiliency. Just two of the words being used to describe the life of Louis Zamperini. If his name doesn't sound familiar, it will soon.

His story is being shared on the silver screen in the movie 'Unbroken'. It doesn't open until Christmas day, but Tuesday, Kansas City was home to a screening.

Legendary Films, the company producing 'Unbroken' called and asked if they could host a screening at Kansas City's World War I Museum. The answer was yes. Among the invited guests, men who share similar experiences as the main character.

In the movie, Louis Zamperini survives his bomber crashing into the pacific. Then 47 days floating on a raft. Just when he thinks he's rescued, it turns out it's the Japanese Navy, who quickly shuttle him to a POW camp.

"It's an honor to be here to think of this man what he went through, he's being honored too, he needs it, God bless him," said Roy Shinkle.

Shinkle is a WWII vet who attended the premier. He too is a POW. He was shot down over Germany, but says he didn't endure anything like Zamperini.

"I came out of there pretty good," he said. "I was lucky, the good Lord was with me."

Shinkle and other WWII veterans were invited and encouraged to attend the screening for a reason.

"We've gone through the passing of the last WWI veteran a couple summers ago and very quickly we are losing our WWII veterans, so it's a great opportunity for us to recognize their service," said Tom Butch, WWI Museum board chair.

Hosting the red carpet premier was a feather in the cap for the museum.

"We are on a little bit of a roll here," Butch said. "We are in the midst of the centennial observation of the outbreak of the war, we had the national designation for the memorial on Friday and here Tuesday we have this wonderful screening of this film."

The museum is in rare company with the screening. Butch says good things are happening and everyone is noticing.

"I think it reflects the reputation that is growing nationally and globally for this museum, and the fact that we have it here in Kansas City is a great honor, and it's a great community asset for us," he said.

Unbroken opens Christmas day.

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