We asked our Facebook fans: If you had to describe our troops in one word, what would it be? Here are the results of what you had to say:
NBC News' Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reports on the Battle of Wanat, one of the worst casualty counts of the Afghanistan war that left 9 soldiers dead and 27 injured. As the families of the Chosen Company platoon struggle with feelings of betrayal and grief, they come together to launch a campaign to uncover why their sons died.
A Father's Mission re-airs Sunday, May 29, at 7pm/6c.
We asked our fans on Facebook to choose this Friday's Dateline episode and they responded with Keith Morrison's report of The Haunting!
After surviving a violent robbery that left a revered Oklahoma pastor and his wife dead, a son and daughter attempt to move on with their lives despite the multiple trials of their parents' killers. Keith Morrison reports on the difficult search for healing and how their story of tragedy came to be a Hollywood film.
The Haunting re-airs Friday, May 27, at 9pm/8c.
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With under cover cameras, "Dateline's" Chris Hansen goes inside a so-called head shop in New York City to report on bath salts, one of the newest designer drugs on the market. It's effects, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, are similar to those of cocaine and methamphetamines. It's also easy to buy and despite what are described as devastating effects, it's legal to sell.
Then, Chris Hansen goes under cover as a bike messenger pulls out a pair of bolt cutters and steals a bike; he accompanies the police as they track down thieves using high-tech tracking devices; and a bike dealer who thinks they're trying to sell him a stolen bike goes after Chris Hansen - it's the most explosive confrontation of Hansen's career.
Chris Hansen tells the story of a young woman's quest to find her mother's alleged killer. Theresa Ramirez, who was 7 years old when her mother Rosie was murdered, made it her mission to revisit the 18-year old cold case. With the help of Deputy U.S. Marshal Aaron Garcia, a former Marine, the duo worked diligently on this case for over four years. Tracking down key witnesses, they enlisted the help of a forensic artist who created an age-progression sketch of the man in question, whom they believed had fled to Mexico.
Relentless airs Friday, May 20th, at 9pm/8c.
A couple in Phoenix, AZ have loaned their house to "Dateline's" Chris Hansen to test how easily a homeowner can end up spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on unnecessary home repairs. Equipped with hidden cameras from top to bottom, watch as repairmen are put to the test to see if they can make a fix quickly, honestly and efficiently.
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Mark and Michelle Weinberger had what many would consider a picture perfect relationship until he took her away to the Greek Isles for her 30th birthday and never came back. In a “Dateline” exclusive, previously reported on by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Buzz Bissinger for Vanity Fair, Rob Stafford tells the story of a runaway doctor, airing on “Dateline” on Friday, May 13 at 9pm/8c.
A successful ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor who had a practice outside of Chicago, Mark Weinberger and Michelle Kramer met at a bar, and according to her the two instantly hit it off. From Athens to Miami, Caribbean sunsets to French champagne, the whirlwind romance began and she was swept off her feet.
As Michelle recalls, the turning point was a few months before Mark had disappeared. One of his patients was diagnosed with cancer and there was a lawsuit filed against him. According to Michelle, Mark was afraid that his medical license would be revoked and his life would be destroyed.
And, while on a yacht celebrating her 30th birthday, Michelle woke up and Mark was gone. With all evidence leaning towards him still being alive, Michelle tracked Mark’s whereabouts through his credit card statements that were still coming to their home. And, since there is no law for disappearing, Michelle, who was now left with $6 million in debt, was forced to file for divorce and bankruptcy.
But it was Ken Allen, the lawyer hired by Mark’s former patient that was persistent in pursuing justice.
For more information about child abduction and parental alienation as featured in the Dateline report Father & Son, please visit the following websites:
Bring Sean Home Foundation:
Bring Abducted Children Home:
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:
HR 3240: International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009:
Hague Convention: Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction:
U.S. State Department: Office of Children's Issues:
Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping:
Read an excerpt below from A Father's Love by Sean Goldman:
For Sean and me, the transition from nightmare to normalcy continues, and we are healing more each day. We work together, play together, and laugh together. We talk openly about everything that touches our lives. Although it is probably not the best time, we’ve found that right before bed is often our best opportunity to talk about serious things. That seems to be the time when Sean starts thinking about things that might bother or upset him. I remind him of the old proverb “Never take your problems to bed with you because they make poor bedfellows,” and we talk things through.
One evening after Sean had been home for more than ten months, I stepped into his room to tuck him in—he had already crawled under the covers, along with Scooter, our new Yorkie puppy that Wendy had bought for him—when I thought I heard him gently crying, not really sobbing, but sort of whimpering.
I went over and lay down next to him, and he slid over and put his head on my shoulder. “Hey, buddy, what’s wrong?” I asked. “Are you feeling okay?”
He rose up slightly on his elbow. I could see the tears in his eyes. “Oh, I just miss Mom,” he said sadly.
I nodded in understanding. I always encourage Sean to express his true feelings, and I never discount them. No matter how old a person is, he or she still can feel the emotional pain of loss, and I realized that this was some of what Sean was experiencing.
“What kind of thoughts are you having? What are you missing about your mom?”
“I don’t know. The fun things that we did. The fun times. She was my mom. No one can know how I feel,” he said. “No one can know.”
“Well, actually there are a lot of people who know how you feel, Sean. There are children who have been abducted and never returned. You and I have a lot to be grateful for.” I shared with him a few of the instances in which families had been torn apart because a child had been abducted. “You’ve been through a lot, more than most ten-year-olds and many adults. But there are other children your age and younger who have suffered through similar experiences and have come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and able to turn that pain around to become good, productive, positive people; more loving, more caring, thoughtful and kind.” We had talked about these kinds of things before, so it wasn’t new information to him. He nodded in understanding.
“You’re not alone, and I know that doesn’t make it any better for you at this moment. But it’s the parent’s job to help the child be happy. And your mom would be happy knowing that you are happy.” I hugged him a little tighter and tried to comfort him.
“Sean, your mom would be so proud of you now. The way you are so well adjusted, and doing so well in school. You have a great group of friends and you are sleeping well, and you are eating healthy foods, and you have lost weight and look great. More than that, she’d be proud of you because you are growing up to be a good person on the inside, Sean. So she’d be happy knowing that you are happy. Think of that and strive to be happy for her, strive to be happy for me, and most of all strive to be happy for yourself.”
Sean looked up at me and said, “I know, Dad. But I still feel sad and I still miss her.”
“And that is natural, buddy. You’ll always miss your mom, but as time passes, your pain should lessen and your heart will heal. I’m here and I’m always going to support you. Anytime you want to talk about it, you have my shoulder. And you have my heart.”
We talked a little more and I tucked Sean in snugly. Just as I was about to leave his room and turn out the light, he looked over at me, his eyes still watery, sniffled a bit, and said, “Hey Dad?”
“Dad, I’m so glad you never gave up on me.”
Hearing those words and knowing what was behind them made it all worthwhile.
I swallowed hard and tried to answer, but all I could say was, “I love you, Sean. I’m glad you’re home.”
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from A FATHER’S LOVE by David Goldman. Copyright © David Goldman, 2011
Read the special Mother's Day blog written by Dateline NBC correspondent Josh Mankiewicz:
My mom came into this world eighty-five years ago, born on the kitchen table in San Bernardino, California. It was almost certainly the last time she made a mess in the kitchen that she didn't immediately clean up herself.
Her name back then was --no kidding-- Holly Jolley. That alone might explain her marriage to someone named Mankiewicz, but the truth is that Mom has lived up to her maiden name every day of her life. Holly is jolly in every sense, waking up happy, always ready to laugh or sing, and with a huge heart-- eager to pitch in whenever she imagines anyone might need help. She can't bear to hear or say a bad word about anyone. In case you can't tell, almost none of that has been passed down to her oldest son.
One more thing that wasn't passed down- over the years, those of us who know and love Mom associate her as much with that high-fructose outlook on life as with her by now legendary cleaning and scouring skills. With her Dustbuster held at port-arms, Mom is the Audie Murphy of the War On Dirt. Even now, it's only when she comes to visit that I get educated about just how grimy my home really is.
But what made me want to write about my mom on Mother's Day concerns a story that Mom rarely tells, probably because she doesn't like to boast. In fact, she was ambivalent about allowing me to tell it here. I persuaded her by saying it would reduce the amount of space I gave to the whole issue of cleaning.
The year was 1957 or '58, and Mom was working for the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. It was a time when L.A. was far more segregated than it is today. Open housing laws didn't yet exist, and real estate agents simply would not show black families homes for sale in certain parts of town. If you were black and wanted to live in Westwood or Brentwood, your agent would tell you there were no homes for sale in those neighborhoods.
It was racist and disgusting, but of course it happened every day. And if you were a black couple who thought you could find a new home in west L.A. by driving around and looking for houses on the market, you were likely to get pulled over by the LAPD.
"Most of the blacks lived in a certain area," recalled Mom. "And if a black person or couple came looking for a house, they'd be shown homes only in that area."
Shattering that appalling custom became one of my mom's duties at the NAACP. All these years later, she can't remember if it the plan was her idea or someone else's. What she does remember is how well it worked.
My mom would call the phone number from a listing out of the newspaper and make an appointment to see a house for sale. When the real estate agent would arrive, he or she would be greeted by my mother, who was accompanied by a black woman or man. Mom would introduce them as a co-worker or assistant. In fact, they had only just met, minutes before.
With the trap set, the unsuspecting agent would then eagerly show the house, telling Mom how great it was, ticking off every amenity and mentioning how it was priced to sell. After the agent would actually quote the price, Mom's black "assistant" would speak up for the first time. "I'll take it," was what they usually said.
Generally, remembers Mom, the agent would freeze, and mumble something about how they thought Mom was the client. "Oh, I just made the appointment," Mom would say, no doubt using that smile that makes you smile even if you don't want to. "I never said I was the client."
If you're thinking this part of the story is no big deal, then I need to tell you how wrenchingly hard it must have been for Mom to even make it to the outskirts of actually lying to anyone, for any reason. She just doesn't have that gene.
But time and again, that one falsehood became the gateway to righting a wrong. For the real estate agent who was suddenly on thin legal ice, there was no turning back. They would have no excuse for not going ahead with the contract and selling the house. And faced with that Hobson's choice, they would do so. Mom estimates that she helped perhaps a dozen black families get a foothold in a real-estate market that otherwise wouldn't have been open to them.
Mom went on to do a lot of other things, including raising two journalists --one of whom is seriously embarrassing her as you read this. She almost never talks about this story, but I remember her telling it to me in the midst of the 1960's civil rights debate, and of course I've never forgotten it.
She'd grown up in an all-white town, and never went to school with or even really knew any black kids, but Mom's sense of outrage was set off in her high school years when a Japanese-American girlfriend of hers was yanked out of her home in the middle of the night and sent off to an internment camp.
That -is- a story Mom tells all the time. The episode played a huge role in transforming her; it clearly left her with a sharp sense of what constituted social justice. She was raised a Mormon, but left the church when she was still a young woman, in part because church doctrine at the time stipulated that blacks could not be ordained.
Not too long ago, one of those families Mom had helped wrote her a letter, telling her they'd finally sold that house, some 40 years later. We raised three kids in that home, they said, and all three went to college. Oh, and their profit on that house they weren't supposed to ever be in? Close to a million dollars. Holly, they wrote, thank you.
I called Mom at her home recently, briefly interrupting her pursuit of some errant dust that badly needed busting. I wanted to know if she thought what she'd done back then was noble or heroic.
"Nooooo!" she replied, using that same tone that accompanies my forgetting to use a coaster. "I don't see anything noble about it, then or now. I was just trying to correct an injustice."
The truth is that lots of mothers all across the country are heroic, every day, in ways that sometimes no one notices. But I wanted you to know about mine, who stood up to the system when there was absolutely nothing in it for her except the knowledge that she was helping us all to do the right thing. She doesn't think she did anything heroic. She's usually right. This time, she isn't. So Happy Mother's Day, Mom-- and thanks.
Correspondent, Dateline NBC