- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jane Fonda said she hoped for an open dialogue with veterans after dozens showed up to protest her appearance Friday in western Maryland.

“Whenever possible I try to sit down with vets and talk with them, because I understand and it makes me sad,” the 77-year-old actress told her audience at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, the Frederick News-Post reported. “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.”

At least 50 veterans, many of whom served in Vietnam, and their supporters gathered outside the theater and carried signs that read: “Forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never.”

Fonda drew the ire of many Americans when she visited North Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War in 1972. A photograph of her sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane” by her critics.

“But those people out there … I’m a lightning rod,” Ms. Fonda said Friday, the News-Post reported. “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.”

She said, however, that she did not regret traveling to North Vietnam, calling the trip “an incredible experience.”

Bob Hartman, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, said Ms. Fonda’s actions cost American lives.

“She encouraged North Vietnam to pull away from the negotiations table,” he told the News-Post. “She got Americans killed … and she went to Vietnam to advance her husband’s career.”

“We feel what she did was so egregious … (she) really cost lives,” Vietnam veteran Mike McGowan agreed.

Frederick County Councilman Tony Chmelik joined the protesters in honor of his father, who served in the military, he told the News-Post.

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