Monday, February 06, 2006
Girls' school mourned Bloom, prays for Woodruff
At the Convent of Sacred Heart, a school of 700 girls and women in Greenwich, Connecticut, the war in Iraq has hit home again. I just visited with some of the students and the school's headmistress, and they tell me they are doing a lot of praying right now.

David Bloom, an NBC correspondent who died from a blood clot in 2003 while covering the Iraq war, was a great supporter and friend of the school. His daughters go there and he attended as many school functions as his schedule allowed. When he died, his good friend, Bob Woodruff, then a foreign correspondent for ABC News, took his place.

Woodruff filled in during father-daughter dance nights, even once at grandparents night. And he delivered the commencement speech that David Bloom was scheduled to give until he died in Iraq. I just looked at the speech on video, which you can see tonight on 360°. It makes for chilling viewing given the serious injuries Woodruff received recently in Iraq.

"He was tired and afraid and uncertain about what would happen next," Woodruff said at the commencement. "Dave understood what we all knew. Surviving this war would be largely about luck."
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 5:12 PM ET
  30 Comments
What a terrible thought that these young girls learn a very valuable lesson about friendship in the most unlikey way. My prayers are with them all.
Posted By Anonymous Maggie Glendale AZ : 5:47 PM ET
There is a sad reality behind any war - the men and women fighting them are the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and other roles to someone's family. Their death impacts that family and the surrounding community. This also holds true for those who take the job of covering the war or live in it, as many peace-loving Iraqis are.

All those deaths come with an immediate price that can't be measured in the budgets, but in the tears and broken hearts and lives of friends, family and loved ones.

When this war ends, I hope all the families who haven't lost someone will take stock in what they've been given back. For those who have lost, the message is already abundantly clear.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Scottsdale, Arizona : 5:55 PM ET
It speaks volumes of Woodruff's character to learn of his work at Dave's daughters' school. Dave and I went to high school together in Edina - a town in suburban Minneapolis. So I was very sad to learn of his death, but I know that he did good work while he was here with us and leaves us richer for having known him and his work. He was a good and fun man.
I can only hope that thoughts and prayers can provide some consolation to Dave's family after yet another unfortunate tragedy has impacted them. Of course, we all share concern and hope for Woodruff's recovery.
Posted By Anonymous Christopher, Andover, MA : 6:01 PM ET
Stories like this help bring the war in Iraq a little closer to home. I have no family members serving in Iraq and a majority of my friends who have enlisted are still in basic training. It is nice to hear who Bloom was and who Woodruff is - the stories behind the man in the anchor's chair. Thank you for sharing a bit of their lives with the rest of us. I know many of us are praying for all of the military and the journalists who are in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly, Lancaster, PA : 6:03 PM ET
Thanks Randi for bringing up what we normally do not pay attention to as much: journalists as war victims. Especially from the family point of view. I wish David Bloom's wife, Melanie, and three daughters all the very best. God bless you.
Posted By Anonymous Georgiana, Houston, TX : 6:06 PM ET
Would Dave still be alive if he got his blood clot in a less politically divisive place than Iraq?
Posted By Anonymous John, San Diego, CA : 6:16 PM ET
It never ceases to amaze me that stories such as this make the news. The war "hits home" at a school where tuition exceeds $25,000 a year? I wonder how many students have parents in the military?

Understand that at any school on any major military post, this happens almost every day - fathers and mothers are wounded and killed. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the media expects us to have a special place for one of their own.

As a strong supporter of the war and the President (and one who voluntarily served in Iraq), this is just another example of the media's separation from objectivity and reality. The mass media continues to push their slanted line about the war in Iraq, with the only stories being about our losses and failures, never about our successes. If only the press would give a similar amount of air time or column space to describing the progress that our all-volunteer military makes on a daily basis under tough conditions.

That said, I wish Bob Woodruff the best, but I most certainly do not believe his "sacrifice" is more deserving or even equal to that which every deployed soldier, wounded, or other otherwise, has made.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Augusta, GA : 6:23 PM ET
That is one chilling story. This war is affecting us all in some way, but this particular story affects me as I think about entering journalism. I'm 17.
Posted By Anonymous Kellen O'Grady Rockton, IL : 6:30 PM ET
Sorry, folks, but pray won't help. The Iraqis also may be praying and their prayers haven't been answered - but with bombs from above and within. You'd better take action: make your Gov't stop this helpless war. And pray later.
Posted By Anonymous Paulo Miranda, Helsinki, Finland : 7:01 PM ET
it always amazes me how we honor people of influence. I do know that we try to honor all of our fallen heroes. They just never make the front pages. People like Terry Jordan. There's probably not one person in this entire world who is thinking of Terry Jordan. I went to school with Terry Jordan and sadly enough to say he was not a nice person. My mother saw something in him. I know that must make him have some sense of honor and decency.Terry was killed in Vietnam. There was barely a footnote in the New York newspaper. Terry had no influence on anyone realistically. Not like the gentlemen we are talking about. But I need to give Terry his dues. Terry this one's for you.
Posted By Anonymous a, Los Angeles CA : 7:12 PM ET
Both men are/were sweet, kind, and thoughtful family men. It's so refreshing to see. I was heartbroken to learn of Mr. Bloom's death, and also of Mr. Woodruff's injuries. I think of him often and this story speaks volumes of both men.
We need to end this war yesterday! All of the men and women that have been injured or killed - journalists included - are brave and wonderful people. To think that they died for oil and revenge is disgusting.
Posted By Anonymous Megan D. Portsmouth, NH : 7:12 PM ET
Woodruff will be back, and from watching the late great Peter Jennings, I can tell he's got some of the same stuff in him. My prayers are with him and his family,
Posted By Anonymous Tommy Turnquest, Surrey, UK : 7:17 PM ET
To John in San Diego: Dave Bloom probably would not have developed a blood clot at all if he had not spent many, many hours on end in the cramped confines of the vehicle in which he rode (and from which he reported). He is no less a war victim than Bob Woodruff and others hit by gunfire or bombs. God bless both these journalists' families--and all the journalists working in war zones all over the world to bring us the truth.
Posted By Anonymous Connie, Boston, MA : 7:19 PM ET
God Bless all of those in the media. Be it reporters, photographers, etc. They put their lives at risk in order to be our eyes to the rest of the world!
Posted By Anonymous Suzanne, Kingston, NY : 7:48 PM ET
I find it both fascinating and sad that so many of the comments here focus on the relative fame and fortune levels of the victims of this war.

While it's overtly easy to feel less-than-sympathetic toward victims who are richer and more famous than the norm, it strikes me as somewhat counterproductive.

The fact that we're talking about a private school that charges $25,000 is almost irrelevant. What matters is that such tragedy crosses all demographic lines. I'll save the issue of disproportionate representation of lower-income America among the dead and injured for another day.

Is it just me or does it seem that most public policy debates in the U.S. seem to eventually come back to a person's income level? Why must that be so?
Posted By Anonymous Carmi Levy, London, Ontario, Canada : 7:58 PM ET
I was in Grunt in 3/15 Infantry when Mr. Bloom was riding along with us, I never met him but I remember when his death was passed down the chain of command. Although the death of anyone in Iraq should not be taken lightly, I wouldn't go so far as to call him a 'victim of the war'. He died of a blod clot, I was cramped in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle for the ENTIRE FIRST WEEK, and i'm not calling myself a victim. I volunteered, and that's what happens when you take a risk to go into that type of environment. His family has my deepest sympathy, believe me. It is a tremendous loss, even if it is not related to combat. How about that young marine that sacrificed himself for his buddies? What was his name... if I didn't write CPL Jason L. Dunham into this blog, I doubt anyone would have guessed it. He, essentially, absorbed a hand grenade blast to protect his men. I wonder if he gets awarded the highest honors of the military service, if it will get as much media attention as journalists that stick there neck out for their own careers, or to be less cynical, i hope they really are just chasing the truth.
Posted By Anonymous Ian MacDonald, St. Pete FL : 8:22 PM ET
Many journalists have died since the Iraq war and many still report from the danger zone, this is the most dangerous job. They risk their lives just to let us hear and see the world existing outside our home. And CNN, congratulations for the award you recieved on covering the Tsunami.
Posted By Anonymous Kamal from New York City : 8:23 PM ET
This war is largely about being in the wrong place at the wrong point in History. It is very sad indeed to witness this period of History and the flawed decisions of our leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Susan Brown-Sandberg, Mandevlle, LA : 8:42 PM ET
Those of you who look at what city I post from will know my views on the war. But they are irrelevant in this context.
To every family who has lost someone because of this war, my heart and sympathies. Your family has sacrificed for this country and I and every other American will NOT let America forget.
To the children I say, make your father and father figure proud. Stand up, report, and remember. God bless America. May Truth Always Triumph.
Posted By Anonymous Priya Ann Arbor Michigan : 9:27 PM ET
It's a very sad and tragic story. If there was even the tiniest justification for such a war there might be some consolation--but this is a war that should never have been, and every loss is that much more tragic for it. The responsibility for every single lost life--whether American, Iraqi, or other--lies completely with the members of the US government who gave permission to the president to wage this immoral war.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Philadelphia : 9:45 PM ET
I went to Cor Jesu Academy, the all girls school run by the same order of nuns in St. Louis. My heart goes out to this school family as they struggle to grow up in a world torn apart by war and hate.
I pray for you all. I truly know how close this school community is and when one in the school hurts all of the girls, teachers, and staff hurt.
Posted By Anonymous Lauren, St. Louis, MO : 11:26 PM ET
The world of journalism can be dangerous...but that's part of the reason many of us chose this field. We didn't want to be staying at home hearing about it. We wanted to be the one there, telling you about it--but that doesn't make up for the grief of losing a fellow-journalist working on the job.

Just remember how dangerous our job can be, and why we're doing it. The reality of it faces us every day...some more than others.
Posted By Anonymous Jessie, Greenville, SC : 11:28 PM ET
I think it is a sad comment on the current state of the US media that injured reporters are given more coverage than soldiers. The reporters aren�t extraordinarily brave. They are normal men and women getting paid tons more than the soldiers who risk their lives to save ours. Not only that, they are put in even more danger carting their �precious cargo� around to make them look like they are �part of the action�. This is the same media system that supports the troops but not the mission. You can�t have it both ways. Get over yourselves. I have an uncle in Iraq who has been put in harms way to protect the people who refer to the monsters who are trying to kill him as �freedom fighters�. You wonder why the last few wars have ended up as �quagmires� for the US? Because the government now has to fight wars on two fronts. Against the enemy and against the media. WWI and WWII were won hands down. Those administrations didn�t have to give a darn about the media second guessing them. We are supposed to get a tear in our eyes because this guy gets injured? Sorry it happened, but get real. Man up. Let us get the job done. Quit whining.
Posted By Anonymous Maisie Carter, Cincinnati, OH : 11:31 PM ET
Well western journalists have been prety lucky by comparison to other journalists.
Posted By Anonymous Reg, Kansas City : 12:50 AM ET
So... one guy dies of a blood clot in Iraq. Another guy gets injured in Iraq. They have a common demonimator, which is this girls school. This doesn't exactly fit in the "war is hell" genre. One of them died from natural causes and the other didn't die at all. It was a quality attempt though.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Bellevue WA : 12:53 AM ET
To Paulo we'll pray for you. Touching story it seems to always be the children who are affected the most on either side of a war.
Posted By Anonymous julie, Erwin, TN : 12:57 AM ET
I believe the issue of the media wanting the public to mourn the loss of one of their own was covered by Larry King not too terribly long ago. It is, by far, a tragedy that American heroes are dying everyday in Iraq and around other places that have elluded to "terrorism." However, we must remember that when someone well known dies, their death, however tragic it was, will probably be covered by more than one news program. If everyone knew "Doug" from Augusta, GA, then too, his death would most likely be covered heavily as well. Let us quickly remember also that viewing American soldiers' deaths is not something that is foreign to American reporters, however, they are, in fact, banned from putting something of the sort on the air. We have been banned from viewing the incoming caskets containing the remnants of the fighting men and women in this war. But if you're really up for seeing the true heroes of America dying, then you may want to go by your local recruiter's office...I hear they're taking many applications.
Posted By Anonymous Bo Whitener, Waco, Texas : 2:51 AM ET
I've gone to the local recruiters office, in fact it was ten years ago today that I was there and I shipped to Parris Island. I've been to Iraq twice and have seen first hand what most of you can't even fathom as the truth. You speak of the "truth" these reporters speak of, but have you witnessed it first hand? This is the problem with Americans and their view which is obscured by the media. Until you... YOU... go to the recruiters office and are willing to put YOUR life on the line to see what the truth really is, don't bother talking about your distorted version of it.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Camp Lejeune, NC : 12:30 PM ET
I also mourn David Bloom. I used to watch him every weekend on T.V. with Soledad O'Brien. I still think of him from time to time and I wonder how his wife and girls are. He had such a great presence about him. He was upbeat and funny too! Not a phoney. Real. When he passed away, I remember the look on Soledad's face. She was shattered. The pain was written all over her face and said it all. I can understand why she made the move to CNN, probably to get away from all of the painful memories. I felt the same exact way. David Bloom is sorely missed.

I pray that Mr. Woodruff and his cameraman both recover quickly.
Posted By Anonymous Carole, New York : 12:53 PM ET
What a wonderful story. I wish the Woodruff family and the Woolf (sp?) the best in the recovery process. I will continue to pray for them. Thank you for this article and episode of Anderson Cooper 360...my family and I enjoy it so very much.
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Nova Scotia...Can. : 1:35 PM ET
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