Brian Sweeney was a pilot in the United States Navy who lost his life in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The airplane he was in crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.
Calling from the hijacked flight 175, Brian Sweeney left a tragic voicemail to his wife. You will come across it later on this page. He was one among the 2,996 people who died on September 11, 2001, in the most significant terrorist attack in US history.
Who Was Brian Sweeney?
Brian David Sweeney was a former US Navy pilot. He was born on August 10, 1963, and grew up in Massachusetts. His wife, Julie Sweeney, remembers him as an amazing husband, a warm and confident man.
Brian Sweeney used to be an instructor at TOPGUN in Miramar, California. She said that he was like Tom Cruise with a Goose personality. That meant that he had great confidence but was so warm and affectionate that you'd want to hug and love him.
However, he received a medical discharge from the navy in 1997 due to an accident that left him partially paralyzed. Right after this incident, he met Julie Roth the following year at a Philadelphia bar. Julie said in an interview that she remembers Brian Sweeney standing in his 6'3" stature that made him stand out from the crowd.
That was the first time she saw him and told her girlfriend that he was just the type of guy she would marry, and later she did. After a good time at courtship, Julie and Brian married in Cape Cod and began a life together in Massachusetts. By February 2001, Julie was a working teacher, and Brian was a defense contractor.
One week every month, Brian flew to Los Angeles, which was why he was on flight 175 on September 11, 2001. He said farewell to Julie for his flight from Boston to Los Angeles and boarded the United Airlines Flight 175. But sadly, he never made it.
What Happened On The Flight?
Brian Sweeney boarded the United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles. Five Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked the airplane. The plane was then purposely crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.
This plane crash killed all the 65 passengers and several people in the building's impacted zone, whose number is still unconfirmed.
Brian Sweeney's Voicemail On 9/11
After saying goodbye to Brian Sweeney, his wife, Julie, went to work as usual. But little did she know that something was unfolding in the sky that would change her life and American history forever.
After the United Airlines Flight 175 took off at 8:14 am, it made a sudden and unscheduled turn at 8:47 am. But the air traffic controllers were busy figuring out some issue with American Airlines Flight 11. So, they overlooked the transponder code for airplane 175 that had bizarrely changed so many times.
Nobody was aware that Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked both the planes and aimed to crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center of New York City. Although the details were hazy, the situation became clear to the passengers in the air.
Brian Sweeney soon realized that he wouldn't survive any longer and wouldn't make it back to his wife. Therefore, using a seat-back phone on the plane, he left a tragic message on his wife, Julie's voicemail. The message said –
"Jules, this is Brian. Listen, 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 absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have good times. Same to my parents and everybody, and I just totally love you, and I'll see you when you get there. Bye, babe. I hope I call you."
At that moment, Julie was teaching and had missed the call. Her mother-in-law soon contacted her and informed her that Brian was in one of those hijacked planes. But she didn't get Brian's message until she got home.
When Julie reached home, eventually she found a message on her answering machine from Brian, minutes before the plane had crashed.
Why Julie Sweeney Released Her Husband's 9/11 Voicemail
Julie Sweeney decided to share the final message with the public in 2002 to shower an effort to help fellow grieving families. She says that she listens to the message at times and still cries. But she accepted that it was a part of her, and there was a lot of healing left to occur.
She believed that Brian Sweeney said some powerful words that gave her the strength to move on in life. She thought sharing this message would help the ones who lost their loved ones in the plane crash.
Years later, Julie expressed her gratitude for that message. She said she felt calm knowing the last thoughts of her husband and that he was calm in his voice soothing her. She said that Brian made some compelling statements that gave her the power to continue life as it was meant to be.
Ever since the death of Brian Sweeney, his wife, Julie, had taken his final message as a motive to live. She is currently living a good life. She remarried and now has two kids. She also volunteers at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to connect with the survivors. She works there to keep Brian's memory alive.
"All I needed was that message, and I think he very selflessly left it," Julie said. "I don't think he left it until he knew that he wasn't coming home."
Brian Sweeney left a tragic message to his wife. The message also helped all those who lost their loved ones in the 9/11 incident. Even today, the lost lives are remembered in some way or the other. It was indeed a horrific and tragic incident that took everyone by shock.