Bob Woodruff

Benefitting the Bob Woodruff Foundation

After decades of preparation, Bob Woodruff was offered his dream job: the anchor chair at ABC World News Tonight. But less than two months later he was hit by a bomb in Iraq, incurred massive head trauma, and spent 36 days in a coma fighting for his life. When he finally woke up, the journalist with a near photographic memory was no longer able to remember the names of his four young children. While Bob eventually regained many of his physical and cognitive abilities, his life and career were forever changed. In this candid and life-affirming conversation, Bob shares his perspective on invisible wounds, unexpected gifts and the joy of rediscovered purpose.

In Today’s Episode

  • Bob starts his dream job: co anchoring World News Tonight and leaves to report on the war in Iraq (7:40)

  • The moment he was hit by a roadside bomb (12:40)

  • Unaware if he is alive or dead  (13:00)

  • What physically happens to your body and head when you are blasted by a bomb (21:40)

  • Are there any stories worth dying for?  (39:10)

Wise Words

  • (On Peter Jennings) “He’s the guy that I really wanted to emulate; I think I wanted to be like Peter.” (6:50)

  • “It was never the 36 days that the ones that were painful, it was the years afterwards, certainly the months after.” (19:50)

  • “Once that miracle of survival kinda starts to sweep away, you realize that your life is gonna be completely different and you have to make this transition.” (25:10)

  • “You’ve got this gigantic world that you have to find your spot in, you know, your direction in, and that’s a shocking change, and I think that’s the blackness. I think the blackness that everybody that’s gone through this, goes through. Now you’ve gotta figure out what you’re gonna be and what you’re gonna do.” (25:55)

  • “I realized that one of the reasons of religion is, I think, to give you comfort about where you’ve gonna spend most of your existence, and I think I had a realization that this is exactly what’s out there.  And you can have all sorts of thoughts about what’s written in the various books and it’s got detains in it that some either believe or don’t believe, but if you really think about it, whoever the prophets may be, what they’re really trying to tell you is that it’s gonna be nice when you go.”  (27:28)

  • “There’s nothing better than friends, you know?  The ones that truly are your friends are the ones that stick with you when you go through suffering, and so those I still have.” (29:15)

  • “I think people they don’t really see what their lives are until sometimes they see something worse.” (37:55)

  • “If you don’t have journalists out there to tell the story, then you might as well get thrown back to the great Soviet days. I’ve been to the countries where there is no journalism, and you can tell the impact on the people to not have it.” (39:20)

  • “Make sure that those around you are still there by your side. That means there’s a lot you’ve got to do make sure they’re next to you. You can’t just beg for it and you can’t just assume it.” (40:57)