Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are not my property. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story is dedicated to all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Sam had flown to Washington to be with Jack so they could attend the ceremony for the new Pentagon Memorial.
Tucked away on a small piece of land between a busy highway and the nation's military headquarters was the newly erected memorial, commemorating the 184 people killed inside the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77.
Sam took Jack's hand as they walked silently down the sidewalk to join many others. As they stepped into the area, they could see a large stone with etching that read "September 11, 2001 - 9:37 a.m." the exact moment of the attack on the Pentagon. The stone, bearing that infamous date, had been recovered from the smoldering ruins of the Pentagon, still stained with the burn marks from the explosion and fire when the jet slammed into the building.
As they stepped in further, they looked out over 184 benches, each one dedicated to a victim who died here on this property that tragic morning. The benches were laid out in a pattern according to the year each victim was born, from 1998 to 1930.
People whispered quietly as they would search and finally find the bench with their loved one's name.
Sam felt a lump in her throat as she watched one particular woman's diligent search. The woman finally came to a stop and stared. She slowly knelt in front of the bench and gently placed a single red rose on top. Feeling sympathy for the woman, Sam's eyes moistened as the woman put her hands to her face and began to weep. Sam bit her lip and tried not to cry.
She had wondered if she might have been a victim of this tragedy if she had still been employed here when this had happened. She was thankful that none of the people she had worked with at the Pentagon had been killed that morning. Since Jack worked here now, she pushed away the thought that something like this could happen again and she could lose him.
Everywhere she looked there were military uniforms mixed in with people who had lost loved ones, all of them brought together on this cloudy morning to take the time to honor those who had died so tragically that day.
Jack stood in his dress blues, hat on his head and sunglasses in place. He had not known anyone who had died here in this senseless act of terrorism, but he knew what it felt like to have a loved one snatched quickly from your life. He knew the agony and devastation these people had lived through, the feeling that life would never be the same again, the ache that would never completely go away.
He turned his head as Sam reached under her sunglasses and wiped her face. He let go of her hand and put his arm around her. She looked up at her husband with a smile and he squeezed her shoulder as she put her arm around his waist.
They watched as people left flowers and notes on the benches. They watched as single fathers and mothers led children to the bench of a loved one, children who were too young to understand why they here; children who would never know their father, mother, grandparent, brother or sister.
Chairs had been placed to one side for the memorial dedication ceremony, so they found seats close to the front. After short speeches by the Secretary of Defense and one of the Joint Chiefs, a choir stood to sing America the Beautiful. Tears came to Sam's eyes as she silently sang along to the beautiful song.
The ceremony was soon over but people lingered, hesitant to leave this solemn place that had been erected in remembrance of lost loved ones.
Jack and Sam hesitated to leave also as they looked out at the crowd.
"It's a beautiful memorial, Jack."
Jack put his arm around her. "Yes, it is. Thanks for being here with me."
Sam smiled. "I'm glad I came."
She hesitated for a moment. "Let's just hope this horror never happens again to our country."
Jack slowly nodded his head and took a deep breath. "Yes . . . let's hope."
He took her hand as they walked slowly back down the sidewalk.
A/N: Seven years after the tragedy, this new memorial in Washington, D.C. is now open to the general public.