Not only did a shotgun blast tear away KirklinÂ's face during the Columbine rampage, bullet wounds to his legs nearly crippled him and bullet wounds to his chest nearly killed him, reports CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers.
"Five more minutes, I would have bled to death. Four inches to the left, the bullet would have gone through my heart," Kirklin said. "A millimeter either way with the shotgun, and I would have died."
Kirklin's jaw was rebuilt and covered with skin regrafted from his leg. He has many surgeries still ahead.
|Students head back to classes at Columbine.|
"For Lance to show up with the other kids yesterday, I think it was an inspiration to them," said Dr. Dave Hnida of CBS Station KCNC-TV in Denver.
"If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade," Kirklin said. "You canÂ't change the past, you can only prepare for the future."
That's what Monday's "Take Back the School Rally" was all about: a fresh start. The event was intended to focus the Columbine community on the future.
However, reports of three freshly-scrawled swastikas found in some school bathrooms put a blemish on the day. Another swastika was found scratched into the brick outside the school, said district spokeswoman Marilyn Saltzman.
"We're really concerned about this," Saltzman said. She hadn't heard about the bathroom swastikas and was checking before saying anything more.
Tammy Theus, mother of one of just 15 African- American students at Columbine, said the walls were clean when she and other concerned parents toured the school a week ago, but on Monday they found one swastika in a boys' bathroom and two in girls' bathrooms.
"It hurt," she said Tuesday. "The rally was great. They've made changes in the dress code, like not allowing trench coats. Then I see this. It's like they are laughing in our faces, 'Ha, ha, school's back in session and so are we.'"
Harris and Klebold had openly admired Hitler, celebrating strikes in bowling class by giving the Nazi salute. The attack took place on Hitler's birthday, and the two wore black trench coats.
|Columbine High School|
"It was like they just bypassed that. For me it was like something was missing just a little bit," said Beth Nimmo, whose daughter Rachel Scott was the first to die in the massacre. Her little brothers, Craig and Mike were among the returning students.
Hnida raised the possibility that more should have been done at the memorial service for those who died in April's deadly massacre.
"I can see into the eyes of some of the parents who lost children. For them, the sun really doesnÂ't rise in the morning," Hnida said. "They have suffered a tremendous loss."
Columbine has undergone major renovations since Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, stormed the school with guns and bombs, killing a dozen classmates and a teacher before committing suicide. Twenty-three others were injured.
Armed guards have been placed at the entrance to the school and students and staff must now wear identification badges.
Some former Columbine parents feeling the school will never be a safe place, are having their children taught at home.
Meanwhile the parents of shooting victim Isaiah Shoels have pulled their children out of Columbine and left town.