Much of Zacharias' speech was aimed at Fonda, her anti-war protests during the war, her recently published book and the publicity surrounding it. She said that people keep asking her a question about her book.
"Is your book selling as good as Jane Fonda's?" she said people ask.
Zacharias said she responds with a warning.
"I grew up in a trailer park in Georgia," she said. "I can beat you down."
The author then read a portion of her book in which she got in a fight with another girl as a child. She lost the fight, but it proved a point: that she would not back down from a fight with Fonda.
"I'm itching to kick her sorry, skinny butt," Zacharias said.
The author said that she takes issue with Fonda making millions off her book and her experiences in Vietnam. She said that while Fonda receives publicity in part for her anti-war protests, Zacharias has been out working with widows and orphans of those killed in war. She asked why Fonda did not do the same and said she felt that Fonda never made amends for her controversial actions during the war.
War veterans and their families are important to Zacharias because her father, a fighter pilot, was killed giving air support to Marines in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War. That left her mother with three children and an invalid father to take care of in Columbus. Zacharias poured her childhood experiences into a dedication to her mother's feat of successfully holding her family together in "Hero Mama."
"She had very little support from the military," the author said of her mother. "She had very little support from her family and she had no support from the community at large."
She said that despite the lack of support, her mother tried to provide the kind of living that her father would have given. She said that her mother thought that if she could provide the same type of living, she could make her children miss their father less. Zacharias said that even though her mother was wrong, her father would have been proud of her mother for the effort.
"Mom's love for us was like a fierce wind, nothing could stand against it," she said.
She said that in her own way, her mother was a soldier too. She said there are two types of soldiers, those who survive war and those who do not.
"I was lucky enough to be the daughter of both," she said.
Zacharias went from living in a single-wide trailer in Columbus to being a celebrated Oregon-based writer, although she still has a home in Columbus. Her work has been hailed by both Pat Conroy, author of "The Prince of Tides," and Joseph L. Galloway, author of "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young."
"I'm like the Hillary Swank of the literary world, only Hillary got to live in a doublewide," Zacharias said.
Zacharias began her writing career as a journalist and has worked for the New York Times and National Public Radio.
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