'Tarawa' doc helps give closure

A life can sometimes be defined by its random events. For Steven C. Barber, a chance encounter with an 87-year-old World War II veteran led to the fulfillment of a 25-year dream he hadn't realized he was pursuing.

The ultimate result of that meeting, the documentary "Return to Tarawa: The Leon Cooper Story," will premiere Friday on the Military Channel. And while the film represents a major professional accomplishment for Barber, it also gives voice to Cooper's desire to distill meaning from the slaughter of a deadly battle he had somehow survived 65 years earlier.

Barber met Cooper at the Los Angeles Book Fair two years ago when they discovered they both knew actor Eddie Albert, who fought with Cooper at the three-day battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater in November 1943 and miraculously saved a few hundred lives.

Barber had met Albert while mountain biking in the Pacific Palisades
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