Jul 10, 2012 07:02 PM EDT
Actress Jane Fonda admits that she always regretted the 1972 photograph of her sitting on a missile launcher aimed at U.S. soldiers at the time of the Vietnam War. In the photograph, she is sitting on an anti-aircraft battery in Hanoi. She said she regrets the photograph, which had sparked uproar and controversy at the time.
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Due to the photo, she had "paid heavily" and had been nicknamed "Hanoi Jane." The 74-year-old actress told Britain's Hello! magazine, "In 1972 I was photographed, laughing, sitting on a North Vietnamese missile launcher aimed at American soldiers, without realizing what I was doing. I paid heavily for that mistake, and am still criticized for it. I'll go to my grave with regrets about that picture."
Fonda wrote in her 2005 autobiography that she was manipulated into sitting on the battery at that time and that she had been horrified at the implications of the pictures and regretted they were taken. In a recent entry at her official website, Fonda explained:
"It happened on my last day in Hanoi. I was exhausted and an emotional wreck after the 2-week visit ... The translator told me that the soldiers wanted to sing me a song. He translated as they sung. It was a song about the day 'Uncle Ho' declared their country's independence in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square. I heard these words: "All men are created equal; they are given certain rights; among these are life, Liberty and Happiness." These are the words Ho pronounced at the historic ceremony. I began to cry and clap. These young men should not be our enemy. They celebrate the same words Americans do. The soldiers asked me to sing for them in return ... I memorized a song called Day Ma Di, written by anti-war South Vietnamese students. I knew I was slaughtering it, but everyone seemed delighted that I was making the attempt. I finished. Everyone was laughing and clapping, including me ... Here is my best, honest recollection of what happened: someone (I don't remember who) led me towards the gun, and I sat down, still laughing, still applauding. It all had nothing to do with where I was sitting. I hardly even thought about where I was sitting. The cameras flashed ... It is possible that it was a set up, that the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know. But if they did I can't blame them. The buck stops here. If I was used, I allowed it to happen ... a two-minute lapse of sanity that will haunt me forever ... But the photo exists, delivering its message regardless of what I was doing or feeling. 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. It was never my intention to cause harm."
See photos here.
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