Jane Fonda and Her Past


Judging by the comments made by readers after this recent article, Jane Fonda remains a polarizing figure in America.

The USA Today article promotes Fonda's World Fitness Day, which will be held Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. After Fonda leads the warm-up exercises, Richard Simmons, Denise Austin, Billy Blanks and Debbie Allen will lead the workouts. The event will stream live on UStream.tv and Facebook.com/JaneFonda.

Fonda has done much for the fitness industry through the years, highlighted by her trendsetting aerobics videos in the 1980s and 1990s. Now 72 and armed with a new knee and hip, Fonda has two new workout DVDs for Baby Boomers and seniors scheduled for release in December. Saturday's event will raise money for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, a non-profit organization Fonda founded in 1995.

Yet for all that Fonda has done and continues to do for fitness and charity, she always will be remembered for her opposition to the Vietnam War, and more specifically, photos of her at a Communist anti-aircraft gun battery in North Vietnam. According to the photo caption distributed after the July 1972 visit (as reported by the Los Angeles Times), Fonda joined North Vietnamese soldiers there in singing an antiwar song while preparing to shoot at attacking Americans. The photos helped create for her the unflattering moniker "Hanoi Jane."

Saturday's event is expected to attract 3,000 exercisers, plus many more on the Internet. Those who still have ill feelings towards Fonda likely will not be among them.

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