Announcing Jane Fonda as an inductee for the 27th annual National Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony certainly stirred-up controversy for Americans, especially Vietnam veterans.
While the two-time Academy Award winning actress graced the Vine Theater stage this Saturday and was inducted into the Hall of Fame, a band of mostly vocal Vietnam veterans stood several hundred feet away from the proceedings outside of del Lago Resort and Casino and figuratively welcomed her into their own “Hall of Shame.”
In consensus, calling her “a piece of garbage,” more than 20 veterans who served in Vietnam mostly rode their choppers from all around the Finger Lakes, Rochester and Syracuse, converging at the casino to actively protest her induction into the Hall of Fame, a woman that was “playing patty-cake with the communists.”
Under this sole mission, many organizations united and coordinated the protest.
Veterans in attendance represented the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, in addition to the Patriot Riders and Chapter 20 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, stationed out of Rochester.
A Vietnam veteran shared, “She never made a strong apology or paid for her crimes.”
“She has to correct the errors that she did. She has to come up front to the veterans and admit that she’s done wrong, not do it on a TV show. She needs to go to these veterans’ organizations and specifically talk to all of the veterans. But she’s never going to be forgiven,” one said.
“She hasn’t shown real remorse,” another added.
As vehicles would drive along the road, some would frequently honk at the veterans, but the protesters were most grateful for the cooperation shown by the Seneca County sheriff department and del Lago staff, who brought-out a large white cooler filled with chilled water bottles for their consumption.
Although protesters were primarily fixated on Fonda, many also expressed disdain with the induction of activist Angela Davis.
A Vietnam veteran named Greg elaborated upon his service and coming home to protests.
After serving in Vietnam, he bounced around among four different hospitals and while at his last hospital visit in New York City, a protest encampment across the street required guards to protect him and other veterans before boarding a bus from protesters who were “saving their urine and feces to come-up and throw it at us.”
“That’s what it’s like coming home and she gets an Academy Award,” he said.
Greg also shared that he was a former police officer who served twenty-years on the force and complained about Davis’ inclusion into the Hall of Fame.
“How could they represent the women of America? I have too much respect for the women of America to think that,” he said.
“America means too much to me to have this kind of representation, to have them honored for anything other than the Communist Party honoring them,” he concluded.
– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio
An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at [email protected].