As you prepare for Memorial Day observances this weekend, you might want to check out Return to Tarawa, showing free online this weekend courtesy of SnagFilms. Filmmaker Steven C. Barber’s documentary follows World War II veteran Leon Cooper’s return to “Red Beach.” Cooper, a veteran of the battle of “Bloody Tarawa,” returned to Tarawa in February 2008 in order to learn more about reports he had read about garbage on the fabled “Red Beach.”
In November 1943, Leon, a US Navy landing craft officer, helped launch the first major amphibious assault on a Central Pacific Japanese stronghold. Leon is dismayed to discover that this hallowed ground is strewn with garbage rotting in the sun, a painful insult to the sacrifice his fellow marines made for their country, during one of the bloodiest three-day battles in American war history. Cooper’s trip is full of wonder, anger, amazement and divine providence as he and film maker Steven C. Barber visit what Leon suspects to be the graves of hundreds of Marines still buried on Tarawa. Follow Leon Cooper’s trip back in time, as narrated by Oscar-nominated actor, Ed Harris.
SnagFilms streams over 3,000 documentaries online and offers a great selection of films in apps designed for several mobile platforms including iPad, Android, Kindle, Roku and Boxee. You can watch Return to Tarawa on the iPad app this weekend.