Summary: Chapter 32, Cascades of Pink Peaches
This chapter begins at the Rokuroshi POW camp on August 22. Phil and Fred Garrett still do not know that the war is over until the Japanese commander returns from a five-day absence and announces it to the ranking American soldier at the camp. Following this announcement, the men hold a giant celebration. They decide to wait at the camp for rescue.
At Naoetsu, food and other supplies do not come as quickly as originally promised. When Fitzgerald threatens the Japanese for failing to send his request for food, the commander manages to get a delivery of rations delivered. Soon after, planes start delivering more supplies. The men receive all sorts of fruits, vegetables, shoes, and more. Planes drop so many supplies that the men have to be careful to escape being hit by them. The men eat to their heart’s content.
The men are grateful to the soldiers who drop the supplies. Gratitude is felt on both sides of these drops. Louie feels gratitude, love, and even forgiveness. As the men wait to be rescued, they celebrate by eating, sharing their bounty with Japanese civilians, and by engaging in other adventures. When September 4 arrives, Commander John Fitzgerald orders a Japanese ten-carriage train to be ready for them the next day.
Hillenbrand details the final surrender on September 2, 1945 and explains how all over Japan, B-29s drop food and other supplies for soldiers in POW camps. While the Naoetsu POWs do not lose their lives under a no-kill order, they came close to doing so, as their guards seemed prepared to do it. Elsewhere, under such an order, we are told that Japanese killed thousands of Koreans on Tinian and tens of thousands of POWs.
Summary: Chapter 33, Mother’s Day
The Naoetsu POWs begin a celebratory train ride to Yokohama. As the ride continues, the men are sobered by the sights of the bombed cities, one after another. In Yokohama, the men are greeted by Red Cross nurses, and the celebration begins again. There, a journalist encounters Louie and captures his full story. Louie hoards items and boards a plane for Okinawa. There, men are stunned to find him alive. They had believed him to be dead. Louie learns the statistics about soldiers, including former athletes, who died during the war.
Meanwhile, back home Louie’s family has not received any news since the radio broadcast ten months earlier. Then, on September 9, Pete is awakened by a friend showing him the newspaper headline: “ZAMPERINI COMES BACK FROM DEAD.” The entire family quickly learns the news and ecstatically awaits Louie’s return.