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Final Mission Of Enola Gay

             The article on Battle Royal: Final Mission of the Enola Gay reads like a fast-paced journalistic account of a heated political debate/rally with all the muckraking, name calling, conflict that would be expected in politics, let alone a museum exhibit. Accompanying the article about the Exhibit are accounts of scores of commentary in the form of numerous magazine articles, anthologies, essays, and books. The object of issue driving the heated debate is the Exhibit of the Enola Gay, a WWII era B-52 Bomber just like any of the thousands of B-52's built for the army during the war. This bomber, however, is very special because it was the bomber that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and with that single act, caused the Japanese to surrender, "avenged" Pearl Harbour and pushed the war to an end. Heralded as a harbinger of peace by some and a symbol of reckless destruction by others, the Enola Gay meant different things to differnt people just as the planned exhibit, The Last Act, meant different things to almost everyone involved in the exhibition. To the veterans who flew the Enola Gay or fought in the war, the plane and what it did were cause to shed tears of relief and realization because they suddenly had fututes and had no longer to deal with the anxiety and carnage of being on the front lines. To the Japanese, it represents one of the single most defining moments in their cultures history. To some, the Enola Gay represents excess force resulting in excess carnage; some consider it a necessary evil that was the best choice among the worst and most difficult options; and some feel completely justified in their/ our actions because it put a quick end to the war. The responses elicited by this exhibition are very telling of the influence that "sensitive" issues can have by polarising society into very distinct camps of influence. The problem is how, and from who's perspective, the exhibit was to represent the Enola Gay and the mission it flew in the supporting materials and didactics.

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