Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The horrific events that transpired on September 11, 2001, have forever changed the face of America. Like many of you, I awoke on September 11th thinking about everything I had to accomplish that day. As a 20-year-old college student, I was busy with the tasks at hand. The papers, homework and journalism writing assignments were going to keep me very busy on this Tuesday morning. I rolled out of bed at around 6 a.m. and put on my workout clothes, thinking to myself that the sooner I got done working out, the sooner I could get the other items crossed off my check-off list. Little did I know how much my life would change--how much America would change in a matter of minutes. As I sat on the bed and put on my running shoes, I turned on the Today Show and I immediately stopped what I was doing because of what I was witnessing on the screen in front of me. The normally clear, crystal blue New York skyline was smoky, hazy and just plain eerie. I immediately listened as Matt and Katie reported what was going on. At first it was reported that a small commuter plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. After hearing this, I thought to myself: "oh, okay some pilot either ran out of gas or had a mechanical failure, hopefully everything will be okay." After hearing this, I went for a quick run.
When I got home, I turned the television back on assuming that whatever had transpired before I left had been figured out and that everything would be all right. Instead, what I saw on television really scared me. It was being reported that it wasn't a commuter plane after all, but a large plane. People were shown running down the street, dazed and confused in their business attire. I will never forget the horrific looks of those poor people's faces. These were successful, hard-working Americans who now seemed to be fleeing to safety. These traders, executives, secretaries, maintenance workers and many more business professionals became a blur under the smokey haze and ash that covered everything in sight. Immediately I thought, is this a terrorist attack? Being the journalism student I was, I didn't want to jump to conclusions, and I hoped I was wrong, but everything I was watching seemed to be pointing in that direction.
Unfortunately all my premonitions were indeed true, as I saw an object hit the other tower. When people talk about reality television, usually the actions are staged, but this was true a reality show, a frightening series of events that I could not believe were really happening. I kept hoping that everything I was seeing unfold was just a bad dream. I wanted to put my flannel pj's back on and climb back into bed and cuddle up thinking that when I awoke everything would be normal again-- everything would be the same. Yet, this WAS really happening; this WAS reality. Right them and there, I knew America had been attacked. How could this happen to America? I asked myself. Now, I can see one fluke accident, but the second plane hitting the other tower was just a little too coincidental. After the second tower was hit, everything just happened so fast that it is hard to put it all in chronological order because I was just trying to wrapped my head around how someone could attack America, the land of the free, the home of the brave. Before this day, I had always felt safe and secure. I never worried about going to amusement parks or sporting events. The only thing that scared me when I had to fly was my fear of heights, but that didn't stop me from flying. After watching the event unfold before my eyes, the care-free America I had once known seemed an all too distant memory.
The catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, not only changed America as we knew her, but also us as individuals. Before the tragic events of 9/11, I took for granted my family and friends. I took for granted the little things that I now look at with intense pride. While I have always loved America and took pride in being an American, September 11th made me realize how proud I was to be an American, and I wanted to show this pride everywhere I went. From the ashes, people came to the aide of others. Strangers helping strangers, putting their lives on the line to protect their fellow man and fellow woman. Amid the tears, heartache and screams of anger came a bright beacon of light, and amid the ashes, people joined together and united as one. I was so proud of our brave men and women in uniform who risked their lives as they rushed into those burning buildings, knowing that they may not make it out alive. I was so proud of the normal Americans too. The employees who refused to evacuate the buildings of the World Trade Center, opting instead to stay inside and go back up those floors to try to get others out. Those brave men and women at the Pentagon who came together to bring out the burned and wounded. Whatever you may think of Donald Rumsfeld, he will forever be a hero for rushing in to help and rescue others. Who could forget the brave men and women of Flight 93? As I write this, I have tears in my eyes, as I think of the sacrifice those amazing individuals made in protecting those on the ground. I cannot begin to imagine what they must have gone through. But in true American form and with tremendous composer, they did what few would do.
You see, fellow readers, while the events of September 11th will forever be hard to comprehend and digest, this day brought out the best in our fellow man. Men, women and children of all races and religions came together for a common purpose, a common goal of helping those in need. I'll never forget when our elected officials stood together, hand in hand and sang God Bless America with more emotion than I had ever seen from from those whom we elect to serve. After a tumultuous election, all Americans, regardless of party, stood together behind President George W. Bush as he comforted and hugged the hurting and the suffering. Goodness, how the times have changed. I have to ask, "What the hell happened?" "What happened to us?" We came together after an event of tragic proportions only to become divided once more. While it is clear President Obama and Mitt Romney have two very different visions for America this election year, it is vital we realize that we are Americans first before we are Republicans or Democrats or Independents.
There are many individuals who want us to forget about what happened on 9/11-- But, readers, whatever you do, it is important that you NEVER FORGET! NEVER FORGET the people who risked their lives to save their fellow man! NEVER FORGET the way America came together! NEVER FORGET the sacrifices so many men and women in uniform are making for us as they risk their lives day in and day out just so we never have to relive the tragic events that happened on that day. NEVER FORGET what happened on 9/11 and the way the nation came together on 9/12 because now more than ever, we NEED to be reminded that America is the land of freedom and opportunity, the land of the brave. NEVER FORGET the 2,974 innocent individuals who lost their lives.
Take some time today to reflect on your own life and what 9/11 means to you. Say a prayer for the families of the victims of the attacks, for our soldiers and for the families of the fallen men and women who died protecting us. And tomorrow on 9/12, don't forget! It is important to WAKE UP, to STAND UP, and to SPEAK UP because we love our country and are worried about the direction we are headed. Don't be afraid, don't listen to the critics! In returning to the way in which we behaved and acted on 9/12/2001, there is no doubting the power and freedom we have when we stand on the side of our founding fathers, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. When we stand together, there is no way they can divide us; thus, the famous line goes: "UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!"
(Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)
Friday, July 13, 2012
This morning, I had the opportunity to speak with Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson about her new book Winning Balance. As I spoke with her, I could not help but think that this is a young woman who has accomplished so many great things and has such a great outlook on life. Her authenticity is unavoidable, and the passion she has for living a life full of purpose is apparent when she speaks. At the young age of 20, Shawn has proved that with hard work and determination, you can reach your dreams. I want to thank Shawn for taking the time to speak with me, and I encourage you all to read her book, which can be purchased by clicking here. I guarantee you will be left feeling inspired!
First off, I want to say how inspiring you are and how much of a role model you are to people of all ages. What inspired you to decide to write a book based upon your experiences and what you have learned so far?
Going through the whole writing a book process, I really wanted to do it because my story has been covered so many times by everybody else and their perspectives. I really wanted to give out my more vulnerable side. I kept journals and diaries, and I just thought it was a great opportunity to connect to people on a more human level than an Olympic platform where people are like 'Oh she's just a machine.'
What do you hope people come away learning about Shawn Johnson after reading your story?
Hopefully, they see that it's not as easy as people portrayed it to be, and that it wasn't just gifted to me, and I wasn't born into it. I worked for it, and I had ups and downs and normal trials and triumphs like everybody else. Hopefully, it inspires them to think, 'well, she is like me; maybe I can do it too.'
As a fellow Christian, I know how important faith is. Faith is a big part of your life and you talk about it in your book. How has faith and your walk with Christ helped you through your times of struggle and hardship?
I'd say my faith has really gotten me through everything, it's given a reason to it. Going through gymnastics and the big movement like the Olympics, I feel like people put too much meaning into the games instead of finding a bigger meaning outside of it, and my faith is always there, it's my foundation and what I fell back on. When things didn't go my way or I went through hard times, everything happened for a reason, and for some reason, it was supposed to happen that way.
Your family seems great. I love the Bounty commercial featuring you and your mom; it’s super cute! Can you talk a little about your parents and how much their support has meant to you over the years?
My family is the best. They've been there since day one. They've encouraged me and supported me in everything that I've done. From coming home on a bad day and having my dad make me french toast at 10 o'clock at night to try to help me feel better to having my mom in hearing someone saying a bad critique and being like 'Oh, I want to go talk to them right now.' Just having them there and supporting meant the world to me.
As an American who was once ranked the #1 gymnast in the world, what does it mean to you to know you were one of a select few to represent your country in the Olympic games?
It feels great to know I've worn my country's colors and made them proud. There's no greater feeling. I feel like all the thousands of hours of hard work and repetition really paid off and it's a great thing to have.
It is being reported that you are going to be traveling to London to show support for the USA Gymnastic Team. Looking back at your own experiences, emotions and the pressures to perform, can you give me a little insight as to what the members of our Olympic team are feeling right now given the close proximity of games?
Yeah. Well, right now they are elated because they're dream has come true. They're on the team and they're getting ready to head over, but they're very nervous. They've got so much pressure on them, being so young, 16, 17 years old and knowing your country is expecting you to bring home a medal is a lot of pressure to handle, but they are working hard and should be leaving for London soon and just getting ready. They're putting hour upon hour of hard work into it right now.
Not only are you an Olympic Gold Medalist, but you are a Dancing with the Stars champion as well. Your partner was Mark Ballas who was also paired up with Bristol Palin in season 11. I have interviewed Bristol on a couple occasions, and she told me how much she enjoyed being on the show and dancing alongside Mark. What was your favorite part about being on the show? As a competitor, was it fun to compete against other stars?
I loved Dancing, I loved the competition and rivalry of it, but honestly, in my season, we were so close. We were all like family, and we just wanted to have fun. I'd say the best part was that-- just making new friends and having a blast doing something we were all uncomfortable with.
Although you have led an amazing life and experienced so many great opportunities, you are still a typical girl who, like others, admits to being a tomboy, nerd and girly girl all wrapped into one. How do you find the necessary balance between your social life and public life?
It's hard, and I think it's getting harder and harder with the attention of the Olympics right now, but I've had the same group of friends that I've had since kindergarten, and they understand and kind of work around it, and we've learned to know what works and what doesn't. They're always there to cheer me up and travel with me and just have fun being silly.
You have such a large following and fan base. What does it mean to you when a little girl or boy comes up to you to request your autograph or a young gymnast tells you she wants to be just like you when she grows up?
It's scary, kind of, now that I have that responsibility, but I like it, you know? I've worked hard for that title and that honor, and I feel like, unfortunately, there are so many bad role models out there that maybe I can be a good one.
Finally, when all the autographs are signed and all the press is done for the day, what is your favorite thing to do to relax or just have fun?
Considering I am always on the go, I love nothing more than coming home and just curling up on the couch and watching a movie... best way to end the day.
Shawn, I couldn't agree more! My personal favorite? The Notebook
Check out this YouTube video via Tynsdale House Publishers, which gives you a sneak peak inside Shawn's book from Shawn herself:
Follow Shawn on Twitter @ShawnJohnson
Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
My Upcoming Exclusive Interview with Olympic Gold Medalist and Dancing with the Stars Champ Shawn Johnson
Hi, everybody!!! First off, I want to apologize for not writing as regularly as I used too. WOW, it has been a while since I have written a post, but I promise that is about to change. While you all know politics is one of my passions, I also love pop culture and my part-time work as an independent pop culture and media expert for a variety of media outlets. This blog has allowed me to meet and interview so many amazing, inspiring people, and I have enjoyed sharing each and every opportunity I have had the honor to experience with you.
With this said, I am excited to announce my latest opportunity. I have scored an exclusive interview with Olympic Gold Medalist and Dancing With the Stars Champion Shawn Johnson. Shawn has a new book out entitled Winning Balance in which she discusses everything from her amazing Olympic career, to love and faith. I am excited at the prospect of speaking with her this week about it. At the young age of 20, Shawn is a not only a great role model for young people, but a woman who is not afraid to stay true to herself and hold on to her faith. I look forward to speaking with her about this and more!!!
Stay tuned for my exclusive interview with her; I cannot wait to share it with you...
Thursday, March 1, 2012
America has lost a profound, conservative voice today. Andrew Breitbart was a man unafraid to speak out in the name of conservatism, unafraid to take a stand when the liberal, mainstream media misstepped (a daily occurrence), and unafraid to defend those who needed defending the most. Yes, the conservative movement has lost a little piece of themselves today. I'll never forget the first time I had heard of Andrew Breitbart. It was four years ago. I had just started to become politically active and "Conservative Girl with a Voice" was just taking off when I started to see this guy everywhere on the news and on the Internet. It was then that a spark ignited inside of me. Here was a guy who was not afraid to call out the media when everyone else seemed to be sitting idly by on sidelines, quietly. I quickly came to realize this was who Andrew Breitbart really was. I remained amazed at how he managed to keep his cool when nasty progressives attacked him and attempted to destroy him. I don't think they got the memo that this was The Andrew Breitbart, a man who no one could take down.
I will never forget how amazingly cool it felt to learn that he knew about me and my blog shortly after I started writing. I almost fainted when he started following me on Twitter. For a guy of that caliber to take the time to read a new blog and follow the work of a new blogger just learning the ropes meant the world to me and other young, conservative writers like me, but that is who Andrew Breitbart was. I will never forget him or the lessons I learned from him. As someone tweeted this morning, "It is up to us. We are ALL Andrew Breitbart's now." How poignant and how so very true. The tears, shock and sadness will eventually fade away, little by little, but Andrew Breitbart, the activist and man will not. He will ALWAYS be right beside us, guiding us down the path to a better, freer, stronger America. Perhaps Sean Hannity put it best in a tweet he tweeted me this morning: "We can all learn from his fearlessness." Sean, yes we can. Rest in peace, Andrew. I will never forget you, your message and the way in which you ignited a spark inside of me to carry on and fight the good fight. Well done, Andrew, well done!!!
To Andrew's family and friends: My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time.
Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The election of 2008 forever changed the way I view politics. When Sarah Palin was introduced to the world, I immediately identified with her in so many ways. When she walked across that stage that early, fall morning in Ohio, in those chic red high heels, she immediately became a role model to me and so many other young women across the country. I remember thinking that it finally felt "cool" to be a Republican. Shortly thereafter, I started this blog at the urging of my friend, Lisa Grass, whom I am honored to know and call a friend. I will never forget Lisa telling me that through this blog, I could use my support for Sarah as a platform to spread her conservative message in combination with my joy for journalism and writing. Now, three years later, I cannot believe the people I have met and the many opportunities God has blessed me with. I will forever be grateful to Sarah Palin for everything she has done and will continue to do for our great country. She will forever have my full support.
Upon hearing the news that Sarah Palin would not be running for president, I was saddened, but respected her decision, for I knew that she had prayed about it and given it a lot of thought and made the decision that was best for her and her family. I have been so blessed to have met Sarah both in person and to have gotten a personal phone call from her earlier this year, thanking me for my support and for all I do for the conservative movement. This is the real Sarah Palin. I have gotten to know many people close to Sarah since 2008, including her parents Chuck and Sally who, upon learning my sister, friends and I were in Wasilla, Alaska, a couple summers ago, invited us to their home on a couple of occasions. I also had the opportunity to interview Bristol Palin twice, and what a sweetheart she is. It is so true what they say about Alaskans. They are the most generous, amazing people, and I am blessed to have become friends with so many of them. I cannot wait to return to Alaska this summer.
With Sarah's decision clear, I joined many other individuals who were on the journey to find a candidate to support in 2012. It did not take me long at all to find a candidate whom I am extremely honored to support. I am backing a candidate who, like Sarah Palin, is unafraid to step on a few toes in the name of standing up and speaking out the truth. This candidate has served our country well. As the son of World War II veteran and Air Force veteran himself, Governor Rick Perry knows first hand what our military men and women go through on a daily basis to keep us free. Of all of the candidates in the running, Governor Perry is the only candidate I have full faith in knowing he will be able to take that 3a.m. phone call and know how to appropriately respond. I have always been a fan of reformers, and I admire the way in which Governor Perry has governed. As his most recent advertisement states, he is a "doer," and that is exactly the kind if no-nonsense leadership we need. As a young woman, I look to the future, knowing that I want a president who will protect America and keep my family and me safe. Governor Perry IS this individual. As a social and fiscal conservative, Perry has illustrated that he is a true leader whom I am proud to support and formally throw my endorsement behind today on eve of Thanksgiving, a day in which I am thankful for a man of his caliber and steadfast leadership. Thank you, Governor Perry. This California girl is proud to support you; now, go get 'em!!!
Make sure to watch this inspiring video that Governor Perry posted on YouTube earlier today. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!
(Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)
Saturday, June 18, 2011
On this very special Fathers Day, I just wanted to write a brief post about how important fathers are to our lives. Like many of my readers out there, I have been blessed with a very special father. Not only did dad teach me the little things like fishing when I could barely walk, tying my shoes, riding my bike and atv, but he also taught me many of the most important lessons in life. One of the most important of these being nothing ever comes without hard work and determination. My father is one of the hardest working men I know. Not only is he a teacher at La Jolla High School here in San Diego, but he also helps my brother with his bounce house business on weekends. Through all of this, he always finds the time to be there for my sister, brother and I whenever we need him and for that, I am truly blessed.
My father is like many other fathers out there who balance work and family life. Being a father can be hard at times, especially in this day in age. By just by being an active father, children are taught valuable life long lessons that will guide them as they learn and grow. Being a father is all about quality time. Some of the best fathers I know are busy, busy guys, but they always find a way to spend quality time with their kids. Time is perhaps the most important gift a child will ever receive. Yes, tangible gifts can be great, but when looking back, it is the time spent with my dad that I remember most.
The memories dad has made with me and my siblings, as crazy as they may be, I wouldn't trade for any amount of money in the world; they are truly priceless! The time spent going over those pesky spelling words in grade school, fishing at the cabin, camping, hiking, riding quads and dirt bikes, attending sporting events, throwing the ball around in the backyard, as well as countless other events have shaped me into the woman I am today. So from the bottom of my heart, I wish all my readers a happy Fathers Day!!! Let us remember to not just thank and show our fathers how much they mean to us today, but everyday!!! You fathers rock!!!
(Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)
Thursday, May 26, 2011
My friend, and Motivation Truth blog founder, Adrienne Ross just posted an exclusive interview with former Sarah Palin staffer Tara Jollie. This interview is a must read as Ms. Jollie calls out Frank Bailey and the many lies he tells throughout his tabloid-filled book. Just a note to Frank Bailey: If you're looking for a job, try the National Enquirer. I'm sure you would finally be among your own.