TODAY's Takeaway

TODAY's Takeaway: Hannah Anderson's story, Manning's gender change 

Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:55 PM ET

1. Hannah Anderson spoke out for the first time since her abduction Thursday, thanking supporters and rescuers, and offering an explanation for the texts and letters she exchanged with her captor, James Lee DiMaggio.

The 16-year-old said that her late mom, who was killed by DiMaggio, instilled in her a strong spirit that has helped her cope.

“In the beginning, I was a victim,” she said. “But now, knowing everyone out there’s helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead.”

Video: The 16-year old abduction survivor speaks exclusively to TODAY about her future, how she no longer considers herself a “victim” of her abductor, James DiMaggio and how she has responded to “mean” criticisms of her behavior.

2. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced Wednesday to military prison for leaking secret government documents, revealed in a statement to TODAY that he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” she wrote. “Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

Video: “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” explains the Army private via a statement read on TODAY Thursday. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday for leaking classified government documents.

3. Kerry Sanders introduced us to Randy and Heidi Martin, a Florida couple who sold their house and all of their belongings so they could travel the country – to show their children all 50 states.

“Seeing all of America and seeing just how good people are in America, and the different regions and cultures,” Heidi told TODAY. “I just wanted them to see what it's founded on.”

Video: You may be planning a family getaway this summer, but it probably won’t be as lengthy as that of the Martin family, who traveled to every single state in the union for more than 13 months, covering more than 67,000 miles.

4. It’s a girl! Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk made her show debut this morning, napping contently in the arms of her moms, Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk.

"This is the greatest gift," Jenna gushed. "Anyone who's a parent understands what I'm talking about."

Video: The TODAY anchors congratulated Jenna Wolfe and NBC correspondent Stephanie Gosk on the birth of their baby girl, Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk. The new moms called their new addition, born Wednesday night, the greatest gift anyone could give them.

5. We want to see your back-to-school photos. Whether they’re adorable, awesome or awesomely awkward — send ‘em in!

Awkward! Send us your weird and wonderful back-to-school photos.
Awkward! Send us your weird and wonderful back-to-school photos.

Tomorrow on TODAY: Nancy Kerrigan addresses her brother’s conviction in the death of their father for the first time.

And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!