Collins: Pre-9/11 life will never returnWritten by D. Michael Collins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now facing the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the history of our republic. In thinking of this tragic event, I’m reminded of Nov. 22, 1963; I was in the Marine Corps, after boot camp at Parris Island. I was in a training session in Camp Lejeune, N.C., and we were training with the .50-caliber machine gun. The training was interrupted by the base command and we were returned to our barracks and told of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
That moment is and always will be indelibly imprinted on my mind.
That’s not to say that other events have not left a permanent imprint on me as a former first responder — they have. This brings us to another day imprinted on my mind: Sept. 11, 2001.
My day started at the University of Toledo where I was a visiting professor with a class and office hours scheduled that day.
My first impression about Sept. 11, 2001, as I got on my office computer, was that it was a hoax, similar to H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” I then realized this was real, as New York and Washington, D.C., were victimized by the insidious series of events.
When I heard of the commercial flight westbound, just over Pennsylvania, my first thought was fear. Was it going to strike Davis-Besse and expose 20 percent of the world’s freshwater to nuclear radiation?
The somber realization that thousands were dead and not knowing how many attacks could still take place replaced the momentary feeling of fear.
By mid-day, all individuals who were not considered critical to the university’s ability to function were directed to leave the campus immediately — I was exiting the health and human services building and going to my car, when I observed a young female student wearing a hijab, crying and shaking in the doorway.
I drove off, but as I approached Dorr Street, I thought about my failure to come to her aid. I turned back to look for her, but she was not to be found. The guilt still remains and I hope someday I will have the opportunity to apologize for my failure to respond in a manner consistent with my core values.
The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 instantly altered life in the United States. To say that our freedoms have been changed would be an understatement. One example would be one’s experience at an airport pre-Sept. 11 compared to today. Would today’s security measures have been tolerated then, from a legal or social standpoint? The answer is academically and resoundingly no!
Our world has shrunk and with this tragic event, the life we enjoyed pre-9/11 will never return.
The one fact that has not changed is that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, were criminal and had no foundation in any religious theology.
Yes, we face challenges today and will tomorrow and yes, “let us never forget.” Peace can only be found with true communication, respect and trust between the religions of the world.
This is the challenge mankind faces as we strive for world peace. O
D. Michael Collins is the District 2 Toledo City Councilman. He can be reached at DMichael.Collins@toledo.oh.gov or (419) 245-1050.