On 9/11, I don't just remember the dead. I remember the living who wonder why they survived.
I have a dear friend who ran for his life out of the World Trade Center in both 1993 and 2001. He's one of the brightest men I ever knew, a positive soul always laughing and cracking wise. Since he barely escaped the attack on 9/11, since he slipped the clutches of al Qaeda while all his work friends perished and he breathed their dust as the entire world collapsed around him, he has not been the same.
He, with a promising career who would surely change the world, has never returned to work. With such strength and promise and swagger and heart, today he can't bear crowds. He could no longer be in New York City. Today he lives a peaceful existence a few hundred miles away.
A father of three beautiful children and the husband of a living doll, today he cannot work at all. He pushes on with his life because he is a great man and an American. I saw him just last month, feeding his fish in the pond he made to keep them safe, far away from the City he once loved. In a quiet moment together, I saw the suffering behind his eyes. To him, his office building is still falling down around him.
He's still among the smartest, every bit as sharp as he was on 9/10. Mostly, he reads - his house is filled with remarkable books. He lost so much, but he looks for better days and raises a family, quietly hoping.
Above his work bench hangs a 2003 calendar with a photograph of the Twin Towers, rising to touch the sky. That year, he left New York forever to settle in a city al Qaeda will never find. He hasn't turned the page; his life is frozen in time. He's a casualty not counted, one man surely among many. I want to kill for him.
I mourn the dead of 9/11, but it is for him I will never forget. I say to the President: no weapons for al Qaeda, no air strikes for al Qaeda. For the Islamists who stole my friend's life, let's do nothing - except perhaps share popcorn while we watch them kill each other dead.