Stephen Baldwin makes appearance at Faith of our Fathers movie premiere in Fresno

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A red carpet rolled Friday night for local Vietnam veterans at Fresno's River Park. (KFSN)

A red carpet rolled Friday night for local Vietnam veterans at Fresno's River Park. Actor Stephen Baldwin, star of the new movie Faith of our Fathers showed up for the event. The movie's creator skipped the standard Hollywood premier and came to the Valley instead.

Faith of our Fathers, a Christian-based film, follows two men who never knew their fathers -- who both served in the Vietnam War. A special screening of the new film at the Edwards Cinema in North Fresno honored local Vietnam vets -- like Cruz Cuellar. He served in Vietnam for a year and spent 42 days in the hospital after being injured by shrapnel from a blast.

"It went in through my back, it punctured my lung, broke my rib. And a piece of shrapnel is still in my chest, about an inch from my heart," said Cuellar.

Cuellar posed for a few pictures with the film's star Stephen Baldwin. "We really haven't seen an opportunity where we honor the veterans of Vietnam. These guys defended our freedom, served our country, did what they were commanded to do," said Baldwin.

This is one of eight screenings treating veterans as the special guests -- instead of the standard Hollywood premier. "It's a movie that honors veterans and lifts them up and what a better way to do it than this 4th of July weekend, commemorating the 50th anniversary of sending the first troops over to Vietnam," said Kevin Downes, Faith of our Fathers.

Downes also stars in the movie. He and his brother, both from Visalia, produced Faith of our Fathers and they are thrilled to bring the film home to the Valley. "It's a big deal because it's your roots, it's where your heart is. That'll never leave."

Faith of our Fathers follows the two stars on a faith journey to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The film was a passion project for the cast and crew. "We have two uncles that served in Vietnam, so obviously it's a family thing for us," said Downes.

The lobby of the theater was lined with more than 100 U.S. flags that were once draped over fallen soldiers' caskets -- reminders of this war's incredible sacrifice.

"They're recognizing us and what we went through. This is some thankfulness for us veterans, you know," said Cuellar.

Gratitude for wartime service on this Independence Day weekend.
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