Surviving the Peace: the story

In 2002, Vietnam Veteran Andy Pelecis took his own life. Nearly 40 years after returning from Vietnam and over a dozen commitments at the VA, Andy’s records were opened again

post-mortem, and became one of the first psychological autopsies within Veterans Affairs


Andy’s reclusive life was overturned at his funeral. People the family didn't know were there, hinting at Andy’s farther reaching experiences where Andy may have found peace from time to time. Seeking to understand her father, and how things could have been different - his daughter, filmmaker Mara Pelecis, meets with Veterans from all walks of life: Rolling Thunder bikers, Vets for Peace, National Guard members and Native Americans. On this journey, she unearths the elusive layers of her father's post-war inner world and discovers how others “survived the peace”.

The family story reveals the most personal perspectives of life after war. These include Andy’s Bolex films, slides with handwritten notes, and love letters to his wife, written in Vietnam. They also include Mara’s video and audio recordings of the family dating back to 1993. These elements become key in hearing process with Veterans Affairs, ongoing throughout

the film.

Surviving the Peace is a true story of the shared experiences of life after war for a veteran and his family, documented
over decades.