Bob Woodruff Returns

Below is an extended transcript of Charlie and Bob's conversation that aired on tonight's broadcast:

Gibson: I am delighted to say that Bob Woodruff is back at “World Newsâ€? on this set with which he is very familiar. It has been a long 13 months. I’m curious, what this does to you inside?  We’ve seen the manifestations outside, how does it change you inside?

Woodruff: Well, I think I’ve got a lot more love for my family, my kids, no question about it.  It’s been great for me to just, over this time to recover the way that I have and then be able to come back and be a journalist again. For me, I have to tell you that is very, very happy.

Gibson: I’ve had friends who have had very close calls with death. And they say ‘I keep saying to myself, why was I allowed to live? Is there something I need to do, is there something different now?’ Do you feel that?

Woodruff: Well, I still don’t understand it, to tell you the truth. I don’t know how those rocks went through my neck, came up near the artery on the other side and stopped one millimeter from it and I still lived. Why these other ones hit my nose and didn’t go through my eyes, other ones went into my cheek. Why I didn’t die from this, smashed my shoulder on the back, it didn’t go through my heart. Why that happened, I don’t know. To this day, I don’t know why this has become such a miracle for me. (At left, Bob's skull, with debris lodged into his neck, from a CT scan.)

Gibson: Does it change your faith?

Woodruff: In some ways, it definitely does. I had this moment right after this happened where I could see my body sort of flowing right below me, floating around, in a whiteness. Now I don’t know what it was, but it was something that was there for a minute. And then I woke up and I could see what was happening after that. I don’t know what it means but it certainly makes me feel better and I really do have a feel…less fear…

Gibson: I was very curious to hear you say that to Diane [Sawyer], this morning, ‘I have less of a fear of death.’ I don’t know how you explain that to people. How you convey that?

Woodruff: I don’t know, I think a part of it, Charlie, is when you go through something like this and you do survive it, then you realize, ‘Ok, I went through the worst parts of it.’ And also when you’re in a coma for 36 days, and you can’t wake up, and you don’t feel anything negative about it while you’re asleep, it’s not such a bad thing.

Gibson: I’m curious watching you go back and meet soldiers and marines, going through what you went through, and I’m curious what’s in your mind, what you’re thinking. I see you greet them, I see you with them but I don’t know what’s going on in your mind.

Woodruff: Well, I feel like I know them pretty deeply. And to go to see not only the soldiers and the marines that have been injured but also their family their wives, their husbands, their mothers, their sons, their daughters. And to see them, you just feel so tight with them. It just has completely has converted me in terms of what I want to know about what’s happening to those who have been injured in this war because we [are] learning more and more how many there have been in this war and how different this is from previous wars.

Gibson: But I would think there’s also a frustration, ‘I wish I could do for you in terms of getting a recovery what doctors did for me.’

Woodruff: There’s no question I’m filled with guilt. I feel guilty having come back as much as I have for various reasons. Who knows why? Some have turned out worse. Some of them have done better than me. And you know how long I’ll have to rehabilitate over time is still difficult. But to see so many that have gone through this and suffer through this, it makes me a little bit guilty about it but I also just want o help them as much I can.

Gibson: Lowest moment in all this?

Woodruff: I think waking up and the moment when I first saw my wife for all that time and seeing my children and realizing what I had done to my family. That I blamed my self for I put them through because I saw the kind of pain they went through all those days. I had no idea it had happened until I woke up. And over the time, when I was able to learn about what I had done to them by doing this, by being in that position and getting hit, and I feel guilty about that. Even though I don’t think there was anything intentional.

Gibson: So that’s part of the survivor guilt, but it’s another kind of guilt laid on to it.

Woodruff: I think that’s right, think that’s true.

Gibson: But why?  They don’t blame you…

Woodruff: Well you know it’s sort of hard to say. I think my wife got used to me leaving the house and going out on stories and being away for large periods of time. And now during this time I’ve been able to spend more time with my family which has been wonderful, but I think she’s ready to get me out of the house again.

Gibson: I asked about the lowest point in all of this, what’s the highest point?

Woodruff: The highest point is seeing everybody around me. I mean my friends coming back. My brothers, my 3 brothers coming back and spending time off in their lives. My wife’s sisters and all of my other friends from my town where I lived and people from around the country. Lived in so many different cities, because we’ve moved so many times in this business. And to see them again and to see what they can do in a situation like this has just been absolutely wonderful. (At right, with cameraman Doug Vogt.)

Gibson: And the bonds are tighter?

Woodruff: I would say so. Certainly my relationship with my children especially is very…and I’m more in love with my wife than I even was before which I’m not sure that was really possible.

Gibson: It is, as I said, very good to have you back and you have made it a good day for us.

Woodruff: Thanks, Charlie

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