Villanovans gathered throughout this past week in the Saint Thomas of Villanova chapel to pay their respects to the victims and families who were affected by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
The University acted as host to a wide variety of events that included multiple Masses, processions and lectures to remind students of the past and educate them about the future.
Memorial services began Sunday when the names of Villanovans who lost their lives during the attacks were announced at evening Masses, while Corr Hall Chapel will act as host to the Victims’ Memorial Biography boards from Sept. 10 through Sept. 17. It is also the location of the University’s 9/11 Memorial Stained Glass Window.
In addition, a memorial Mass was given by University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., on Sept. 11, with a procession and final remembrance at Corr Hall Chapel.
One of the highlights of the week included a special lecture by Dr. David M. Barrett, a revered author and Villanova professor who has been involved with teaching national security issues for over 15 years.
His most recent book, “The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy,” was heralded as a “triumph of research” by the Washington Post for his de-classification of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Centering his lecture on the question “Are we safer?,” Barrett spoke of the current state of world affairs, the increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts and the fact that Al Qaeda remains as the No. 1 threat against America today.
One of the central reasons for Barrett’s extensive research of intelligence agencies and national security issues is his goal to reveal the imperfections of information to the public.
“The information we might gather about conditions out and about in the world is flawed,” Barrett said. “Misperceptions are inevitable. It is a sure bet that across the years, the United States government overestimates the hostile intentions of others and vice-versa.”
Barrett warned students in attendance to make informed judgments when approaching political decisions.
Armed with statistics and research, such as the approximate budget of the United States Central Intelligence Agency ($45 billion), Barrett was able to argue his point of view while maintaining a level of respect and apathy for viewpoints involving the government and its relationships with other countries.
However, in the end, Barrett did offer his personal opinions regarding the state of affairs, the president, our relationship with the Muslim world and the effect of the media.
“The public is aware of intelligence failures that helped contribute to the way that we went to war in Iraq,” Barrett said. “The public may be aware of abuses by the CIA and other intelligence agencies in prior decades when those agencies intervened in domestic political affairs.”
Barrett encouraged students to be aware of what goes on in their country, asking them to realize the imperfections of our government and those around the world.