The VFW objected to the exhibit's presentation of the view, not supported by fact, that the atomic bombs should not have been dropped to end the war quickly. The VFW criticism is that such conjecture in a historical exhibit would be viewed as a deliberate ideological twisting of facts that misleads the public. The exhibit, which opens in May 1995 and will run to January 1996, will feature the restored 60 foot forward section of the Enola Gay as the symbolic centerpiece.
To date, the Smithsonian has met with objections from veterans and veterans groups which accuse the Smithsonian script of being biased, calling U.S. military operations 'a war of vengeance' and the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces being portrayed as defending Japan's unique cuitural heritage against Western impenalism.
At the invitation of the Director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Muscum, Martin Harwit, the Veterans of Foreign Wars was invited to review a revised draft of the exhibit script and comment on its content.
Officials of the VFW have offered to work with Smithsonian representatives to ensure that visitors to the Air and Space Museum understand the rationale, at that point in time, for using weapons which put an end to yet another world war.
The VFW, a 2. 2 million-member veterans group which includes more than a million World War II veterans, intends to introduce a resolution at its 95th National Convention in Las Vegas August 19-26 urging Congress to exercise oversight since the Smithsonian Institution receives about 85 percent of its funding from the Congress.
(This news release has been reprinted in as near to its original format as the medium currently allows. This news release was received as part of an information packet supplied by the VFW.)