Samantha L. Lightbourn-Allen
Hometown: Hillside, Md., USA
Occupation: Budget analyst, U.S. Army
Location: Ground, Pentagon
"She was a devout Christian, and her church was a very important part of her life. She spent every Sunday there and was part of the choir. She had her children involved in the choir, too, as well as several other church-sponsored organizations. Samantha was very close to the ministers. She was just devoted to God." --Rennea (Lightbourn) Butler, twin sister
Samantha Lightbourn-Allen, a budget analyst who handled credit card accounts for the Department of the Army, was the kind of person who never worried about anything.
If she saw the televised attack on the World Trade Center, it probably never occurred to her to be worried as she sat at her desk at the Pentagon, her mother, Rebecca Lightbourn, said.
"She just felt when it was your time, it was your time and worrying about it wouldn't change things anyway," Lightbourn said. "I'm the type who worries about everything."
Lightbourn was at home watching television when jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center. When she heard that the Pentagon had also been the scene of a suicide crash, she called Lightbourn-Allen's brother, Raymond Lightbourn, a Navy officer assigned to the Navy Yard, and asked him to check on his sister's whereabouts.
"He called me back in just a few minutes and said 'Don't worry. Samantha is on the other side.' They didn't want me to worry," Rebecca Lightbourn said.
Samantha Lightbourn-Allen, 36, of Forestville, who has a 16-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, had returned to her office Sept. 6 after being away for several weeks, first on travel to Miami for the Pentagon, then on a short vacation to Orlando, then out recovering from a bout of walking pneumonia, her mother said.
Since the crash, Rebecca Lightbourn and her family have been to the Pentagon several times, attending briefings and a memorial service.
At a makeshift memorial on a table draped by an American flag at the command center, she placed flowers, Samantha's name tag and a photo.
-- Avis Thomas-Lester
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com
The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.
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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.