Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coming Home

As I stated in my first entry, my dad just got back from a year long deployment to Basra, Iraq. He went with 1,037 of the 34th Infantry Red Bull Division, a National Guard unit from Minnesota. They had a tough job, providing leadership, command, control and in-depth staff analysis for a 16,000-person multinational Task Force. The Red Bulls were also responsible for nine of Iraq's eighteen provinces and had a direct relationship with more than 40,000 Iraqi Security Forces, which included the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police and the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement. So they were extremely busy. Their Division operated out of Basra in the southern third of Iraq and was responsible for the provinces south of Baghdad.

There was a FOX News college challenge for students to make a 3 minute human interest story and send it in for a possible internship or entry level position interview. I would love to work at FOX so I wanted to jump all over that. I thought for four months on what kind of a story to do, and nothing came to me. My mom and I would try and think of some ideas that would be really interesting, and that would move people who watched, but I found nothing that I thought was worth doing a story on. One day mom my and I were workin on our fitness when she had a brilliant idea! "Dani, why don't you do a story on the Soldier's coming home?" My mom is so smart. No, seriously, she's on the Dean's list and made Alpha Chi. I had never even heard of such a thing, obviously showing how smart I am ;-) haha. Anyway, I decided to do a story that would show the emotion, excitement and pure joy of seeing husbands, wives and children watch as their loved ones walked through the door and into their arms after a year of being away. Wow, even now just writing that brings tears to my eyes. I have never been more moved as I was when I got to watch our men and woman in uniform getting to hold their families again.

I started off interviewing some of the wives of the Soldiers, asking them some of the challenges they faced while their husbands were away, how their communication was and if they had any worries while they were gone. Then I asked them if they had any big plans for their return. It was absolutely incredible to see the joy on their face, knowing in minutes they would be reunited with their men again. I was excited too, knowing that I was going to be able to see my dad again. I've always prided myself on being a pretty strong girl, able to hold my emotions inside. Well, I don't know what happened, but as I've gotten older, that's gone out the window. When I saw my dad I started balling, happy tears of course. I was 7 years old again, seeing my dad come home from his first tour to Iraq, holding my little American flag.

I was able to compose myself enough to be able to capture families moments, kissing, crying and embrassing their hereos. What beautiful moments. My dad had set up for me to interview 3 of his fellow Soldiers, who told me how great it was to be home and to see their beautiful wives again, and also what they are looking forward to the most. One wife said her husband loves Pepsi so much, "I stocked the entire fridge with Pepsi for him."

These are the moments I absolutely love being in TV Journalism. Being able to be a part of moments that are life changing, that move people, that move the human heart, and that bring smiles on everyone's faces. I attached my news package for this event, I hope you all enjoy it!


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  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WeqE7QiP6o