Jane Fonda said she hoped for an open dialogue with veterans after about 50 former military members and supporters protested the actress’s appearance Friday evening at the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

“Whenever possible I try to sit down with vets and talk with them, because I understand and it makes me sad,” Fonda told a relatively full theater, responding to a submitted question. “It hurts me and it will to my grave that I made a huge, huge mistake that made a lot of people think I was against the soldiers.”

In 1972 Fonda visited Hanoi, North Vietnam, where she criticized attacks on the dike system along the Red River. A U.S. investigation later revealed the publicity of these bombings as propaganda. Fonda’s statements and a photograph of her sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery outraged many Americans and veterans, leading many to call her “Hanoi Jane” and a “traitor.”

Bob Hartman, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, said he blamed Fonda for breaking off negotiations among the countries and held her responsible for thousands of American lives.

“She encouraged North Vietnam to pull away from the negotiations table,” he said, holding a sign outside the Court Street parking garage to protest her presence. “She got Americans killed ... and she went to Vietnam to advance her husband’s career.”

About 50 veterans, many of whom served in Vietnam, held signs saying “Forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never” and waved flags outside the theater for about two hours, occasionally booing people entering the Weinberg Center, including state Sen. Ron Young.

“But those people out there ... I’m a lightning rod,” Fonda said. “This famous person goes and does something that looks like I’m against the troops, which wasn’t true, but it looked that way, and I’m a convenient target. So I understand.”

However, Fonda said she did not regret traveling to North Vietnam, saying her time there was “an incredible experience.”

“We feel what she did was so egregious ... (she) really cost lives,” said Mike McGowan, a Marine Corps veteran who served as an infantryman in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Among the protesters was Frederick County Councilman Tony Chmelik, who said he decided to support the veterans in honor of his father, who served in the military.

“(We want to) let everybody know we haven’t forgotten,” said Tommy Grunwell, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and helped organize the protest.

At least one person turned out to demonstrate in favor of Fonda, saying the actress’s work as an activist and founder of nonprofits helping women should also be recognized and represented.

“I feel like you can’t vilify Jane Fonda but not vilify our government,” said Gabrielle Hash, who stood among veterans holding a handmade poster in support of Fonda.

During her hourlong talk, Fonda discussed the importance of adolescence in shaping women’s and men’s lives, and how she regained her courage and spunk in the “third act” of her life upon turning 60.

“My voice went underground, and it took me a long, long time to get it back,” she said.

Through working with adolescents at the nonprofits she founded, Fonda said she discovered that most girls are “whole” before approaching puberty; they know what they want and are not afraid to voice it. But upon entering adolescence, this voice fades as girls are pressured to fit in and mold themselves to society’s ideals of a thin, popular woman.

“Her voice doesn’t disappear, but it goes underground,” Fonda said, describing how this plagued her through three marriages.

But for boys, many are led to believe they need to act strong and fearless from the time they enter the formal school system at age 6, according to Fonda.

“They become emotionally illiterate,” she said, adding that some of these boys later become violent when their masculinity is threatened in any way.

In describing her own struggles with age, marriage and respect, Fonda urged audience members to seek forgiveness and happiness through small changes like daily meditation or walks outside for a longer and more fulfilled life.

“If ... we can manage to think positively ... we can actually alter the pathways in our brains,” she said. “I’ve experienced it, so I know it’s true. It takes work, it takes intention. But man, is it worth it.”

Follow Paige Jones on Twitter: @paigeleejones.

Paige Jones covers business and biotech in Frederick County. She started at the paper in 2014 as a nighttime crime reporter before switching to business. A Kansas transplant in Maryland, she enjoys exploring the East Coast in her free time.

(66) comments

Phishhed44

Liberals should have NO INPUT on this matter, PERIOD. Yes, the First Amendment blah blah blah...but shutting-up is also part of the first(?)!! So, since being a liberal is tantamount to being a treasonous traitor anyway...their First Amendment rights should be stripped?!!! Ohhhh, YEAH. 8-)

Phishhed44

Passing a "HELP!" note from one of our POW's to the NVA camp commander is an unforgiveable act. "Open dialogue"; how about NEVER, you commie traitor?!!! Lastly, I am proud to have DONATED jane urinal targets to my local Legion Post. I did my part...!!!!

Jmattei

Burn Jane burn for your sins. Like we all do. Accept your penance and deal with it.you should not accept glory for good things you do now. Boasting on any of these makes them worthless to everybody who receives.

mpkilcoyne

Time out. Let's give her credit, where credit due. Did you see how she filled out those jeans in "Cat Ballou".
I rest my case....
Beyond that. We sometimes make bad decisions, and then must pay for them. Bee-itch!!

DickD

Why would any veteran want to talk to her. It might help her, it will not help all that she caused to lose their lives.

KellyAlzan

Steve you've been moody on these comments lately. Anyone that constructively critisizes you and you make them your target.

You should go on a tropical cruise for a few days and let your hair down

DickD

Kelly, if you are offering to pay for a cruise, I will act moody too.

Glen Shiel

@ Sallyforth; "Because he said "yes many Americans were opposed to the war" instead of "yes I was opposed to the war". And that means he wasn't one of the many Americans who was opposed to the war? I hardly think so. May I suggest that you think before you post.

Sallyforth

I can only go by what he writes. Why should I be the only one that posts here to think before I post?

Glen Shiel

When did I say that you should be the only one?

Sallyforth

I didn't see you mention anyone else. You should think before you post.

gary4books

So, how many attended?

jwhamann

I went just to photograph the event. The poor attendees had to run the gauntlet.

FrederickVeteran

Firstly Thank You to all the those who served and who lost loved ones in SW Asia even Dick Cheney who to busy to attend and John Boehner who was able to avoid the attending due to his bad back which improved miraculously since coming to Congress enough to golf just about everyday since. Regrettably the greater the death toll in a war the greater chances for a permanent cessation and 58,209 deceased American patriots was more than enough to end the quagmire.

DickD

The number of deaths, destruction and fortunes lost is always relevant in ending an war. All wars are basically fought over economics. Only the naive' think it is ideology.

salmonceej

There is enough in a Vietnam veteran's mind and life to make carrying a pointless grudge and animosity an un-necessary addition.

vicdavy

Grudges and living in the past is the definition of a Conservative. I hear comments from Wackos about Pearl Harbor, the Civil War and other ridiculous BS! I guess I should be really POed cause my ancestors are Mohawk. My people want 5 minute with John Wayne! He's dead? What a bummer!

BlueDawn666

No I envy no one, envy is a waste of time, my point is and I will try and be more clear, what has Jane Fonda done with her life that she will be remembered for?

I stated what I will remember her for, she could of accomplished some great things in her life but she choose to marry a man she didn't love because of what Ted Turner represented, she has publicly said that, she sold out.

She suffered from an eating disorder still struggles with it, stems from her childhood, she has said that, she is not someone to envy nor is she someone who deserves to be protested for something said when she was basically still a child.

Also I have never claimed any relevance sallyforth, but if you think I am relevant in some way cool, just do go envying me okay cause I don't evny you!

Vic reread my comment again what have I said about Jane that isnt true?

Sallyforth

I'd like to buy you for what you're worth and sell you for what you think you're worth. Your high opinion of yourself is unsubstantiated.

bluizz

I could only think," what idiot would want Jane Fonda advising their adolescent children" and then the news reports Ron Young shows up, go figure.

DickD

Well, Ron is hardly and adolescent and he raised Blaine, how does that sit with you?

MCEDDE21

"Hanoi Jane"? How about "Saigon Dick"? I would like to see one of these protestors address the fact that it was Dick Nixon who was the real traitor. LBJ, for those who don't already know, had a deal worked out between SVN's Nguyen Van Thieu and NVN's Ho Chi Minh to end the war. He planned on announcing the deal just before the fall elections--the original "October Surprise".

But Nixon found out about this and told Thieu to hold off--actual treason. Nixon then campaigned on a "secret plan" to end the war. The secret took four more years to unfold, during which time another 20,000 Americans were killed.

corgikid

I would like know where you got this information. Can you provide a source please?

MCEDDE21

Two: George F. Will, FBI wiretaps… “George Will Confirms Nixon's Vietnam Treason…” “Richard Nixon was a traitor… it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

“Nixon's newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

“Nixon's interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams's 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

“Nixon's sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that "she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should "hold on, we are gonna win."

“In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.

“According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it… “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected.

“In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.” http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/12/george-will-confirms-nixons-vietnam-treason

Anything else you’d like to know?

MCEDDE21

Nixon’s Treason Now Acknowledged, The Washington Post, August 7, 2014 by DavidSwanson

“A George Will column this week, reviewing a book by Ken Hughes called Chasing Shadows, mentions almost in passing that presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon secretly sabotaged peace talks that appeared likely to end the war on Vietnam until he intervened. As a result, the war raged on and Nixon won election promising to end the war.”

”Will treats the matter as a technicality, citing the law against private diplomacy rather than the principle that one shouldn’t undermine a government’s attempts to halt an episode of mass-murder.”
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/nixons-treason-now-acknowledged.html

vicdavy

des21, Fact checking has revealed some pretty poor results from Faux News. MSNBC has a very good record of factual documentation. When you Google you have to use discretion and avoid sources that are invested in political propaganda versus FACTS. I thought that goes without saying,but you are correct that searching for data that supports your opinion must be avoided. Obviously a foundation of education and historical knowledge is necessary for the Googler. Facts and Statistics taken out of context,and often are,like the Democrats =Slavocrats comment someone wrote.

DickD

Excellent investigation. How about sending a LTE to the FNP on it.

vicdavy

corgiboy, You've got a computer,stop watching Fox Noise and Google it,smart guy,lol.

des21

If we start believing everything we see on the internet all is lost Vic. Fox and MSNBC stories are at least fact checked- admittedly from an ideologically slanted point of view. Very little on the internet is fact checked. We used to make fun of people who would say "I just read the Daily News and swear by every word" (Joe Jackson) yet so many do just that with the internet. Come on people, we can do better than that. Read an edited book for God's sake!

vicdavy

http://freepress.org/article/george-will-confirms-nixons-vietnam-treason

des21

Sorry Steve, Vic, I meant that as a gentle nudge to Steve, and the Slavocrat comment was again meant to be a quick and snappy way to make a point. Sometimes I forget the gravitas we have to bring to this forum. No more humor I promise. (What the heck happened in 1994?)

Vic -the fact that you don't recognize MSNBC as the other ide of the coin to Fox, well, that says a lot. They are both garbage sources of information appealing to their audiences pre-existing biases.

Steve- now that you've taken down Blaine Young despite the "Feckless" FNP I guess you're going after...... Richard Nixon (?) You know he's dead right?

I don't know how old you are Steve but if you are a baby boomer like Vic I've got news for you.: History did not begin during the Vietnam war and despite what linguists like N. Chomsky write, history has not repeated itself identically to how things played out in Vietnam in every situation the US has been involved in since. Just saying.............

des21

Steve posted virtually the same thing last week. His most important source is himself.[wink]

vicdavy

Facts are Facts and this was revealed in 1994! Because Steve disagrees with you,des21,doesn't mean his source is Not Factual. I thought you had a PHD=Piled High and Deep?

MCEDDE21

des21: sorry I just noticed your non-comment. in our society, it is more commonly accepted that individuals, such as yourself, make reference to facts and history than to engage in ad hominems.... IF they actually have something to say. [beam]

des21

PS - my point is Steve that you (and Vic) keep saying the same things over and over again. We get it- Young bad, Nixon war criminal, Vietnam wrong, Republicans evil, capitalism causes all the world's grief, etc., . You have sufficiently educated us. [beam] back at ya!

vicdavy

MSNBC may be left leaning,but they are factual and documented which Fox is NOT! I also watch Al Jazeera, RT-Thom Hartmann, WHUT-Democracy Now,with Amy Goodman and I love Bill Moyers,sorry he'll be retiring,he is a great man. I also read,though not as much when I was younger,books that is,although I prefer Kindle's now. I am retired so I have more time.

MCEDDE21

des21: You're losing it, alright? If you don't like to read the things that Vic and I post, there's a very simple solution. Care to guess what that might be? [beam]

DickD

I think I have heard the one about PHD before, but it is still funny.[beam]

DickD

I hardly ever watch Fox News as it is too distorted for me to accept. I only get irritated watching it.

gary4books

History is hardly ever a secret and since Mr. Nixon was vice President when President Eisenhower settled the Korean war, he knew how to cut a deal and bring peace. Which he did in 1972. I know it took longer, but I am not sure they had a solid deal earlier and the North was the cause of many delays.

vicdavy

I am a Vietnam Vet who had no problem with Ms.Fonda then or now! These guys can protest all they want,but I feel sorry for them and their lack of understanding. Living in the past and holding grudges is sad. Bob Hartman's comment about Jane's protest causing the peace negotiations to be stopped is ludicrous. Are people aware of the information that was released in 1994,concerning Nixon's role in interfering with peace negotiations? Base on taped phone conversations with LBJ and supportive sources, Nixon, while running for President, and as a private citizen, communicated with North Vietnamese, that if they stopped negotiating, he as President, would make them a better deal. Nixon's promise to end the war got him elected,but the war dragged on and his interference cost the lives of 20,000 American soldiers. LBJ had already decided not to run for President,and felt the release of this revelation would be considered politically motivated and suspect. The real traitor was Richard M. Nixon!

DickD

I agree Nixon was more at fault and more of a traitor, if you are just looking for the amount of influence. But Jane was a traitor, none the less.

BlueDawn666

The protestors made Jane much more relevant than she actually is or ever was.

She has tried various ways to become relevant over the past years and failed, so now she is doing public speaking whoopie!

All I will remember about her is a woman that did exercise videos, suffered from an eating disorder, and married Ted Turner, oh yeah she is Henry Fonda's daughter and was in that movie Golden Pond.

She really has accomplished nothing of revlevance other than perhaps when she was young and dumb she was played into making some questionable remarks and pissed some veterans off.

To me she sold out and not worth my time to even bother with. I guess the protesters had nothing else better to do on a Friday night than stand in the cold and shout angry things at someone who really could give a rat's ass what you think of her!

Sallyforth

Said the irrelevant FNP commenter.

vicdavy

I am surprised at Blue,I guess she? has some envy issues.

Sallyforth

[thumbup]

Glen Shiel

Well put, Dawn, very well put. Her traitorous trip in '72 was nothing but a way to draw attention to herself, the little egocentric bi*ch. But I do disagree that at the time she was "basically still a child." She was in her mid thirties which plenty old enough to make responsible decisions. The war was winding down, and was over less than a year after she went, so her trip served no purpose other than to cause more American deaths. She was a traitor, and should not have been allowed to return to the States. Interesting, though, that Joan Baez's '72 trip to Hanoi didn't get much attention. I suppose because she was just a hippie that didn't make the same type of inflammatory comments that Fonda did.

public-redux

Mid-thirties? Why, that qualifies as a youthful indiscretion per the Hyde Rule.

vicdavy

The realizations of America's HYPOCRISY on the WAR and Civil rights motivating me to become a HIPPIE(whatever that means) after serving in Vietnam.

gary4books

Being "relevant" is a higher standard than one should demand from others. I think Ms. Fonda was able to express herself and that is a right we all share.

quemzeee2

Nobody, paid any attention to what she did in those years,, except the vets who did not want to be there in the first place.

vicdavy

[thumbup]

gary4books

I am not sure I wanted to be with the Infantry in Vietnam, but since I supported helping our allies, I thought it only fair that i do my part. Later on I had more friends there and wanted to help them.

dcg326

Many Americans ,yes many Americans were opposed to the war and our military who were drafted,not their choice..She went over board almost as a traitor,lucky her she wasn't killed.A very unpopular Johnson war , he did not run again after his term a no win.I'm not sure why we were there,We didn't win anything,just got our miltary killed.

Sallyforth

If you didn't agree with the war why didn't you speak up? I guess you're making up for it now by never ceasing to speak out.

franklin3

If you are truly looking for a scapegoat for the disaster known as the Vietnam War, go no farther than the Capitol building in Washington, where congressmen rubber-stamped the demands of the White House and the military and sent men to their deaths while making sure their own sons received deferments.

Glen Shiel

So, Sally, how is it you know he didn't speak up 40+ years ago?

Sallyforth

Because he said "yes many Americans were opposed to the war" instead of "yes I was opposed to the war".

vicdavy

Read "The Best and the Brightest" by David Halberstam if you want an in depth study of the escalation of the Vietnam War in the Johnson Administration. Can you say McNamara?

gary4books

The problem with trying to understand Vietnam from the deals in Washington is that very few in Washington knew or even cared about what happened in Vietnam. I read "Best and Brightest" and laughed and laughed. Who knew how disjointed they were in DC?

vicdavy

I didn't laugh. I was there,how about you Gary?

DickD

I wasnt there, but no way would I have laughed, I didnt miss it by that much, a little younger and I would have been there;.

gary4books

We got thee same deal (more or less) that we got in Korea.

DickD

I dont see how you can say she almost was a traitor, she was a traitor!

bigdogs02

Did you notice that Fonda's speaking engagements in present day Vietnam are what . . . none???

gary4books

That is not her target audience.

Wikipedia described her recent activity as : :"In January 2009, Fonda started chronicling her Broadway return in a blog, with posts ranging from her Pilates class to her fears and excitement about her new play. She uses Twitter and has a Facebook page.[89] In 2011, Fonda published a new book: Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit—making the most of all of your life. The book offers stories from her own life as well as from the lives of others, giving her perspective on how to better live what she calls "the critical years from 45 and 50, and especially from 60 and beyond"."

I do not see much of an audience in Vietnam, but who knows?

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