(Washington, D.C.) -- Responding to a hail of anguish and anger from Vietnam veterans from across the nation, John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), wrote a heartfelt letter to Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS:
"Since the Sunday, March 17, airing of 'Amazing Race,' [which was set in Hanoi], our members have been contacting our national office to register their dismay regarding the insensitivity displayed by the directors, who chose to show the remnants of a downed American B-52 bomber as a prop. Many of our members are outraged and would go so far as to say that CBS has insulted the memory of those Americans who lost their lives when that aircraft was shot down.
"As a United States Air Force veteran, who flew over Vietnam many times, I am personally offended by the flippant manner in which the participants raced around the wreckage, without any display of respect or recognition accorded to the dignity of those lives lost in the downed aircraft.
"While it is understood the 'Amazing Race' is a television reality show, intended to entertain rather than educate about the sacrifices made by our American heroes, it is unconscionable that CBS would deem it appropriate to use footage of a downed U.S. warplane with such irreverence.
"Americans died in that plane, and their memory is all that their families have of them. Needless to say, this is an insult to those who served during one of our nation's longest wars and to those whose loved ones are memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., as well as those memorialized by the In Memory Plaque, dedicated to those veterans whose postwar deaths are attributed to their Vietnam War service.
"We ask that you and the producer of this segment and the overall show apologize to the families of those who lost a loved one in the downing of the plane in that (to some) long-ago war."