Jane Fonda issued an apology for her long-running Vietnam war controversy as a veterans' group staged a protest during her appearance in Maryland.

The Barbarella star gave a talk at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in the city of Frederick on Friday (16Jan15), and the event was targeted by around 50 demonstrators who waved placards emblazoned with the slogan, "Jane Fonda. Forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never!"

Fonda sparked outrage in the U.S. and earned the nickname 'Hanoi Jane' when she was snapped sitting on an anti-aircraft battery in Hanoi during the Vietnam War, and during her talk in Frederick, Fonda called the move a "huge mistake" as the protests raged outside the venue.

She told the audience, "Whenever possible I try to sit down with vets and talk with them, because I understand, and it makes me sad... 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... But those people out there... I'm a lightning rod. 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."

The protesters waved flags and placards and booed audience members as they entered the auditorium. One of the demonstrators, Vietnam veteran Tommy Grunwell, told local newspaper the Frederick News Post, "(We want to) let everybody know we haven't forgotten," while fellow protester and former member of the Marine Corps, Mike MCGowan, added, "We feel what she did was so egregious... (it) really cost lives."