Jane Fonda’s regrets about a trip to Vietnam during the War

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Jane Fonda, one of Hollywood’s rare figures who refuses a label or box, is a rarity. Throughout the height of her career in the ’70s, Fonda split her time between movie-making and political activism. She was an advocate for a halt to the Vietnam War, which was one of her main interests. She was inspired to go to North Vietnam, where the United States was currently waging war.

‘Hanoi Jane’

While Jane Fonda has never walked back her support of the anti-war efforts, there is one consequence of her activism in Vietnam that she insists that she’ll always regret. Fonda traveled to Hanoi (North Vietnam) in 1972 as did nearly 300 other Americans. She visited North Vietnamese soldiers, often referred to as “the Viet Cong”, to exchange with them and deliver letters to American prisoners of war.

The most pressing matter upon her visit was concerning the Vietnamese dikes—a system of dam-like structures around the country’s coast that prevented flooding. Since the Red River, the largest waterway in Vietnam, was below sea level, the destruction of the dikes would be catastrophic, flooding the bulk of the country’s farmland. New reports at the time revealed that the US military was targeting the dikes to flood North Vietnam and cause widespread famine.

RELATED:How Jane Fonda became one of the most despised people in Vietnam during the Vietnam Era

In most respects, Fonda’s visit was a success. She helped bring much-needed media attention and comfort to families of POWs. That was until today. a certain photoIt made its way back home to the USA. Fonda can be seen sat on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun wearing a combat helmet, smiling and conversing to Viet Cong troops. It is one of the most controversial images of the Vietnam War.

Fonda received the nickname after Fonda became angry at the image. “Hanoi Jane”For her apparent support for the Viet Cong. Americans saw in her an anti-American, antisoldier activist. Fonda was accused by some of the most hostile commentators of treason. The most heartbreaking reactions were from Vietnam soldiers and their families who expressed their dismay at the actress.

‘I Carry This Heavy In My Heart’

But, after Fonda had a chance to reply, it was clear that this wasn’t the case. “Hanoi Jane”It was a total myth. According to Klute It wasn’t her intention to pick sides, but she was a star. She was not anti-American in her antiwar stance, and the photo was a big mistake. She had already apologized many times since 1972 in interviews and in books. However, she provided another explanation. Visit her website in 2011.

“There is one thing that happened while in North Vietnam that I will regret to my dying day—I allowed myself to be photographed on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun,” Fonda wrote. Fonda stated that she was tired and it was her final day in the country. First, she explained the reason she was wearing a helmet. She remembered that North Vietnamese soldiers required visitors to wear helmets when visiting military installations such as the gun site she took her to.

Fonda claimed that soldiers sang her a song which was then translated into the following: “All men are created equal; they are given certain rights; among these are life, Liberty, and Happiness.”Fonda immediately recalled showing compassion towards soldiers and insisting that their common values were yet another proof that war was not necessary.

Fonda performed a South Vietnamese song that she knew and sang in return. The mood was celebratory. Fonda’s hosts laughed and clapped with her. They then led her to the antiaircraft gun. Fonda recalls being overwhelmed by the whole trip and taking a seat with no second thought. Before Fonda realized it, a flash of light illuminated her face, taking a picture that would last ages.

Jane Fonda Has Apologized Numerous Times

Fonda immediately attempted recovery of the photos before they could be made available to the general public. “The cameras flashed. I got up, and as I started to walk back to the car with the translator, the implication of what had just happened hit me. ‘Oh my God. It’s going to look like I was trying to shoot down U.S. planes.’ I pleaded with him, ‘You have to be sure those photographs are not published. Please, you can’t let them be published.””The translator offered her some immediate comfort but neither of them knew that the information was out of their hands.

Fonda has had plenty time to reflect upon that moment. The conclusion she’s come to is that, whether she was set up or not, she knows she must take responsibility for the photo and all of the hurt it has caused. “It is possible that it was a setup, that the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know… If I was used, I allowed it to happen. It was my mistake and I have paid and continue to pay a heavy price for it,” Fonda wrote.

RELATED: Ted Danson’s Life Was Changed After Arrest With Jane Fonda

“The gun was inactive, there were no planes overhead, I simply wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, only about what I was feeling, innocent of what the photo implies. But the photo exists, delivering its message regardless of what I was doing or feeling,”She elaborated. She also regretted the harm that the photo did to her past work with American soldiers as well as their families.

“I carry this heavy in my heart. I have apologized numerous times for any pain I may have caused servicemen and their families because of this photograph,” Fonda noted. “It was never my intention to cause harm. It is certainly painful for me that I, who had spent so much time talking to soldiers, trying to help soldiers and veterans, helping the anti-war movement to not blame the soldiers, now would be seen as being against our soldiers!”

Jane Fonda Calls Herself A ‘Lightning Rod’

Fonda was used by the Viet Cong, their supporters, for political gain. It is possible to say that many American politicians have done the same. The photo was widely circulated and nasty rumors spread that Fonda was an unindicted supporter of Viet Cong. People concocted stories of Fonda teasing her fellow Americans while she was in the war zones.

The circulated letters claimed Fonda had mocked American POWs held in Hanoi by standing by and being tortured. “It is unconscionable that extremist groups circulate letters which accuse me of horrific things, saying that I am a traitor, that POWs in Hanoi were tied up and in chains and marched passed me while I spat at them and called them ‘baby killers,’”Fonda wrote this on her website. These rumors continue to be circulated.

In a Interview with Barbara Walters, 2005They spoke about the damage that her Vietnam trip had done to her reputation 40 years later. “It amazes me Jane that, to this day, I get letters about you,”Walters started by referring to the backlash she has experienced for supporting Fonda. “Jane, this is just this last week,”The journalist took out a large stack of papers and noted it. “The anger, I mean, I could read these. ‘She’s a traitor to her country. Honoring her would be traitorous, stupid.’ On, and on, and on.”

Fonda responded with a touching response. “It’s sad, and in a way, it’s pathetic that, these many years later, these people have not made sense of the war. They’re off base in terms of where the anger needs to be placed, and I’m a lightning rod. And the right wing has been very assiduous in fanning the flame of the myth of ‘Hanoi Jane.’ They’ve spread lies on the internet. … They’ve kept it alive because it suits their interests.”

Jane Fonda’s Activism Today

Fonda has learned a lot from her Vietnam experiences, but she has not given up on the torch. Her career has changed. After building a business in fitness videos, she returned to acting. She still prioritizes causes close to her heart. Recently, the Oscar winner was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which she’s called a “very treatable cancer.”The timing of the diagnosis coincided perfectly with the conclusion of her hugely successful Netflix series Grace & FrankieIn, she stars alongside actress Lily Tomlin.

RELATED: Jane Fonda Isn’t Letting Cancer Prevent Her From Advocating For Causes She Believes In

While the official show may have come to an end, Fonda recently announced that she’d be combining her two great loves—acting and activism—to bring fans a Grace & Frankie Reunion Special on Friday, 28 October “We’re very worried about climate change,”Fonda spoke in the video. “And we’re going to do something about it…. We’re going to have a virtual fundraiser.”Support the actresses “climate champions”Running for office in the country.

Fonda, 83 years old, is still determined to make the world a better place. Despite undergoing chemotherapy treatments, she’s still actively campaigning for her climate activism organization, Jane Fonda Climate PAC (political action committee), which she founded in March of this year.

It’s clear that nothing can stop Jane Fonda—not bad press, age, illness, or the knowledge that she doesn’t Have She is a great example of how you can contribute. Fonda is and always has been an inspiration, and we can’t wait to see her reunite with Tomlin to reprise their beloved Grace & Frankie This Friday, characters

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