The Chain of Memory

by Rebecca Ratliff


DATE: September 11, 2003

ARCHIVE: If I haven't submitted to your archive, please ask.  (I'll say yes, I just like to know where it is.)


CATEGORY: character thoughts



SUMMARY:  A memorial

AUTHOR'S NOTES:  This story is humbly dedicated to the real-life heroes who gave their lives and to all those who remember them today.

All Stargate SG-1 characters are the property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc.  No infringement of those rights is intended. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended.  Anybody that you don't recognize is probably mine, so if you borrow them please send me an email to let me know where they are and have them home by midnight.  :)

FEEDBACK:  Much appreciated.

(Sept 11, 2003)

The September sky was clear today, just as two years ago.  It was as if nature herself remembered, along with the people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

It was a date and time that would be forever engraved on the hearts and souls of an entire nation.  Something changed in the spirit of a people that day.  But for Major Paul Davis, United States Air Force, that change could not have been more pronounced.  On that day two years ago, years after he had first taken the oath of service, Paul Davis became a warrior.

(Sept. 11, 2001)

It had been an ordinary morning in Davis' office that day.  He had just gotten out of an early morning meeting and heard that a plane had hit something in New York.  He and a Army captain had just decided to find a TV and see what they could find out about that.  Seconds later the world had turned inside out in noise and fire and smoke.  Both men had been thrown off their feet.  The lights were out.  The only light came from the shattered window.

"What the hell...!"

Davis smelled burning jet fuel in the thick smoke that was curling into the room through the window.  "I think a plane hit us.  We've got to get out of here."

He felt the door first.  It was cool.  The two of them stayed low as he opened the door, crawling under the smoke.

Davis' hand came down on something that moved.  It was pitch dark in the corridor.  He could only identify the injured person he had discovered as human.  Details like race, gender, branch of service, age, were all concealed by the terrible darkness.  Whoever it was put an arm around his shoulders and Davis helped him/her crawl down the corridor.

"Watch out, Paul, we got some stuff down in the floor here."

"Can we get around it?  I have an injured person here."

"We'll just have to--we sure aren't going back the other way," came the grim reply.

The three of them climbed over a pile of masonry and who knew what else.  Something sliced his ankle and he hoped that was the only piece of glass.

He got too much of a breath of the heavy smoke and the rest of their escape was an endless crawl in the darkness.

Abruptly, strong hands picked them up and someone fitted an air mask over his face.  He heard someone yell something about "Got three more here!"

It seemed only a moment later that he was lying on the lawn.  He pulled off the oxygen mask and looked around, trying to orient himself.  For the first time he saw the extent of the damage.

He asked a Navy nurse, "What happened?"

"Somebody hijacked a bunch of planes.  They hit the World Trade Center too.  We're in a war!"  She put the oxygen mask back in place.  "Keep that on!"  Then she continued on to help someone who had been seriously hurt.

Davis could only think one thing.  Whoever did this was going to pay.

By the end of the day, he knew that no one in the room right next to him and the Army captain had survived.  Too many friends were on the list of names of dead and missing that had been taking shape as people had been accounted for.

He never did find out who he had helped to safety.

(Sept 11, 2003)

Davis realized he hadn't heard a word of General Myers' speech.  So much had happened over the past two years, but in an instant he was right back there.  Was this what a flashback was?  A memory so strong that the past became the present?

How was it that only a wall had separated the dead from the living that moment?  What was the basis for deciding that those in one meeting room should drop the chain of memory and cross over into the unknown, while those in the next room should live on to take up the chain and add their own links to it?

Today solemn speeches were made, a wreath was placed, and once again Taps echoed over Arlington National Cemetery.  Two years ago, so many hundreds of links in that chain had been made of solid gold.  The ceremony ended and the attendees left the cemetery.  Davis thought it was appropriate that he had a full schedule this afternoon, because today was about remembering and moving forward.  Today, they who now held the chain could do no less than vow to live up to all those who had gone before.  There was an awesome responsibility to continue the work that had yet to be completed, to be sure this never happened again, to rebuild and carry on into the future, to bring light out of darkness.  Davis had never been more confident of his nation's will and resolve to accomplish that.


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