(Washington, D.C.) — VVA National President John Rowan last week sent a heated letter to CBS condemning what he called "the insensitivity displayed by the directors of 'The Amazing Race,' who chose to show the remnants of a downed American B-52 bomber as a prop . . . that has insulted the memory of those Americans who lost their lives when that aircraft was shot down." On Monday, CBS Executive Vice President Martin D. Franks, in response to Rowan's letter, acknowledged that parts of that episode were indeed "insensitive to a group that is very important to us – our nation's veterans."
Franks wrote to Rowan, "On behalf of CBS, [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer, and everyone who is part of 'The Amazing Race,' we want to apologize to veterans–particularly those who served in Vietnam–as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. He noted that this "message" was delivered at the top of Sunday night's broadcast of the show, and he offered this link to view it: http://www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race/march/.
"At CBS, we are proud of our longstanding efforts on behalf of veterans," Franks added, citing public service announcements in support of veterans causes–particularly the "Wounded Warrior PSA we were proud to broadcast during this year's Super Bowl," as well as "countless hours of national and local news coverage of veterans issues [and] sponsorship of and participation at veterans job fairs."
"For far too long," noted Rowan, "Vietnam veterans felt scorned for having done our duty. It's taken a long time for America to separate the war from the warrior. Though young people may not have known or understood the symbolism of the B-52 bomber, certainly the producer and the directors should have.
"Still, past is prologue, and we do thank CBS for owning up to what had been an irreverent oversight that hurt and angered many of us who still wonder, in our dark moments, if Americans truly understand the price veterans paid to fight for flag and country," Rowan added. "In keeping with our founding principle, 'Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,' we will always strive to ensure that troops returning from a combat zone will never feel abandoned by the nation that sent them there."