The 9/11 Memorial is a solemn occasion, commemorating the lives of nearly 3,000 individuals lost to a tragic event that shook the world. This year, as we mark the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, we are reminded not only of the profound loss but also of the enduring love between a husband and his wife.
Who Was Brian Sweeney?
Brian David Sweeney, a former pilot and United States Navy Instructor, later became a defense contractor. He and his wife, Julie, shared dreams of a beautiful life together, sealed with their marriage in Cape Cod.
Julie often reminisced with a friend about their first encounter, saying, “That’s the kind of guy I would marry.” After their marriage, Brian was fortunate to work from home as a defense instructor while Julie continued her career as a teacher.
The Tragic Events of September 11, 2001
On that fateful day, Julie was in her classroom, carrying out her teaching duties as usual when her world was shattered by a call from her mother-in-law. The devastating news was that the plane Brian was on had crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Brian had been on a journey from Boston Logan Airport to Los Angeles. At 8:42 a.m., the flight fell into the hands of four terrorists: Marwan Al Shehhi, Fayez Banihammad, Mohand Al Sherhi, Ahmed Al Ghamdi, and Hamza al-Ghamdi.
Two of these hijackers forced passengers to the back of the plane, while the others brutally attacked the pilots, taking control of the aircraft and directing it toward the World Trade Center.
Brian’s Last Message to Julie
Understanding the perilous situation he was in, Brian Sweeney made a heartbreaking call to his beloved wife, Julie, using an airphone. His final words, etched in memory, serve as a testament to their love. Brian said, “I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I love you. Go have a good time, same to my parents and everybody. I just totally love you, and I want you to do good. Bye, Babe, I’ll try to call you.”
Julie rushed home upon receiving the news from her mother-in-law, and there, on her answering machine, was Brian’s heartfelt message. In a video by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Julie shared her feelings upon hearing his voice. She said, “When I heard the voicemail, all I thought of was that it’s so Brian. He knew he wasn’t coming home, and it was his final way of letting me know exactly what he wanted me to do. He wanted me to know that no matter what happened, he loved me, and he wanted me to be happy and to move forward and go ahead and have good times and do good things with my life.”
Julie’s Resilience and Remembrance
In the years that followed, Julie found love once more and became a mother to two children. Nevertheless, her heart remains connected to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, where she volunteers her time. Brian Sweeney’s story is just one among the thousands who were unable to convey their final messages to their loved ones.
As we remember the 9/11 Memorial, we are reminded of the enduring love between Brian and Julie Sweeney, a love that continues to inspire us all.
The 9/11 Memorial is not only a time to remember those lost on that tragic day but also an opportunity to celebrate the strength of the human spirit. Brian Sweeney’s heartfelt message to his wife, Julie, stands as a testament to the enduring power of love even in the face of unimaginable adversity. As we reflect on this solemn anniversary, let us honor the memory of all those who perished and the resilience of their loved ones who continue to keep their spirits alive.