I don't believe I have ever had a deeper, more profound and exhausting experience than the one I am living now.
Ten days ago I finished my five-year run on television. The emotions of leaving something as fulfilling and frankly intoxicating as Fox News have been difficult. It has also been tough to begin this new journey knowing that the viewer and I are being separated – even if only until 9/12 on GBTV – as I truly believe in the importance of what I have to say.
Immediately after my final show on FOX News, I was rushed across town to a Broadway theater where I spoke more freely about my career and the plans for my future than I think I ever have. Again I worried about the fans, who have become like family to me. Will they come? Will they understand what I am doing? Will I be able to pull it all together? Can enough like-minded people really change the course of history? (More photos here)
After the GBTV interview, I then went to say job well done to my AMAZING Mercury staff, a team that has set new and higher standards than any in modern media. I boarded a plane around 10pm that night.
I flew out West to first visit a sick friend and then host a Fourth of July celebration in Driggs, Idaho. Even though the crowd estimates were near 15,000 in this little town of 4,000, I again wondered if anyone heard what I was trying to say. Was I clear? Was I helpful? “Give me the words, Lord” I prayed before I went on stage. (See more Driggs photos here)
Early the next morning, we flew back to New York and dropped off one GBTV documentary crew, swapped them for a fresh team and boarded the plane immediately for a long flight to Poland. We were about to stare evil in the eye.
Having Tania and my four children near me made this pensive flight more bearable. My family slept, read and laughed over the next 12 hours. Tania finished ‘The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. I had finished it the week before and now was reading all I could to understand the mindset of the Germans, Poles and those rounded up during the seemingly never ending years of the Holocaust. I have never had more nightmares.
I didn't want to step on that blood soaked land. The sun went down and rose again just as we were about to land. I had slept very little and I was getting sick. By the time we landed I was feverish and exhausted. My body was playing self-defense.
We dropped my family off at the hotel. The children slept for a few hours and then went to the zoo. The adults however would not see their pillows as we had much to do.
Our first stop was the only operating synagogue in Warsaw. It was as rainy, cold and as gray as I had imagined a former Soviet country. I met with the Chief Rabbi of Poland. We had an amazing conversation for a coming GBTV documentary called "In Search of Courage". And while I was still 18 hours away from the gates, Auschwitz loomed over all of us.
Later, I met with local university students to talk about history, the future and courage.
Always being rushed, never having enough time, I slowed us down again in the Warsaw Ghetto. I couldn't get over the size of the wall. I tried to imagine the people, sights, sounds and emotions on both sides of that wall. I don't think there is a better example of the theory of "out of sight, out of mind" - at least for those on the other side of this wall.
We reflected at a memorial to those lost, ironically, built out of the stone cut for the intended use by Hitler commemorating his Victory . The Lord has a way of making all those who work against Him and His people in to Haymen of The Old Testament.
Tired, emotionally spent and with my neuropathy finding it's own again, we arrived at the airport where we had landed just eleven hours earlier. Tomorrow promised the best and worst of humanity. But first we had to clear security. For most of my team, it went as expected. But for one it did not. Due to a misunderstanding a member of my crew was at first detained and later held in custody. We waited as long as we could but eventually we had to take off without him as we had a tight schedule with a ghetto and two death camps that we had to visit and a flight window into the country of Israel that could not be missed. Eventually someone with the authority to make a judgement call cleared him through -but as there were no flights out, he rented a car and drove through the night. He arrived just as we were waking. That, however, was tomorrow. First things first tonight.
We had left Idaho on Sunday morning at 9am, and by the time the team laid down to sleep just outside of Auschwitz it was 1:30am Tuesday morning. Somewhere over the Atlantic a fresh Mercury documentary film unit was on their way to meet me in less that 18 hours in Israel.