Brian Sweeney, a passenger on the flight, made the call just three minutes before the crash.
In the final moments of his life, Brian Sweeney, a 38-year-old former U.S. Navy pilot from Massachusetts, sent a message to his wife. The calmness in his voice as well as the profoundness in his words still bring tears to anyone who listens to it. Sweeney was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center just after 9 a.m. Three minutes before the crash, Sweeney sent his wife Julie a powerfully moving message. “I was lucky Brian called and spoke to me on that message,” Julie previously told PEOPLE. “He told me what he believed and I grasped onto that with all I had, and I’ve embraced life — I am living it as I know he would want me to do.”
❤️/💔 What a compassionate, loving and inspiring message in time of incredible stress.— JoJo (@BobRobbie2) September 12, 2020
Now that message has been heard by the whole world and still tugs at the heartstrings. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum even dedicated an installation around the recording so people who visit could listen to it using a telephone. In his message, while maintaining a calm demeanor throughout the call Sweeney said, "Hey Jules, this is Brian. I'm on an airplane that has been hijacked...if things don't go well, and they're not looking good, I want you to know that I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, have good times, same with my parents. I'll see you when you get here. I want you to know that I totally love you. Bye, babe, hope I will call you."
Brian Sweeney, who sent the phone message to his wife Julie, from UA Flight 175 that crashed into South Tower of WTC on 9/11. pic.twitter.com/q2CmOqvdF4— Prof Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) September 12, 2017
Sweeney flew an F-14 as a Navy pilot in the first Gulf War, and he also served as a flight instructor for the Navy in California. At the time of the crash, he worked for a Defense Department contractor. The flight he was in had 56 passengers on board and was en route from Boston to Los Angeles. Tragically, no one survived the crash. "We assume he was calling from the back of the plane, because he said, 'They might come back here. I might have to go. We are going to try to do something about this,' " Julie told CNN in 2004, according to Bustle. "Whether he was doing something or whether [the hijackers] were coming back, I don't know that...It was more speculative than fact as far as why he hung up the phone quickly — whether it's because they were charging the cockpit, or whether they were coming back to where he was and he didn't want to be seen on a phone."
That Brian Sweeney voicemail is amazing, in terms of its grace, courage & selflessness. I am in awe #911Anniversary— The Panic (@Gunntwitt) September 11, 2017
His wife, who met him at a bar in Philly in 1998, remembers him like "Tom Cruise but with a Goose personality — he had the confidence of Tom Cruise but he had this personality that you just wanted to hug him and love him,” Julie remembered. “He was just that kind of guy.” She decided to make Brian’s intimate voice message public in January 2002 in an attempt to help bring comfort to others who needed to heal as well. Years after the loss of her husband, Julie admitted that she was still healing. “There are still times when I cry and I listen to his message,” she said. “It’s still a part of me and there’s probably still a lot of healing I have to do.”