VENICE — American Legion No-Vel Post 159 hosted a screening of the 1999 documentary “Back to China Beach” on Saturday.
It showed how American troops involved in the Vietnam War had to deal with incoming artillery, even while on breaks from the frontlines.
Ron Zaleski, a U.S. Marine veteran, and founder of The Long Walk Home, Inc., spoke to those at the event.
The screening was a fundraiser to help the organization.
Zaleski walked the Appalachian Trail barefoot to raise awareness of PTSD — and then followed that with a 3,400 mile barefooted trek across America in 2010-11 from Massachuettes to California while wearing a sign that said “18 Vets a Day Commit Suicide.” It was his hope to add mandatory counseling and training for troops leaving active duty.
“Back to China Beach,” co-producer Mike Cotton was also on hand at the screening. Growing up surfing on the East Coast of Florida, Cotton heard stories of China Beach from his friends returning from Vietnam. He and co-producer Dave Barns started working on the film in 1998 and it was first screened in November 1999 in Pensacola.