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Former Navy pilot's voicemail to wife on 9/11 is still heart-wrenching, 19 years later

"I just want you to know I absolutely love you," Brian David Sweeney said in the message.
/ Source: TODAY

A voicemail that former U.S. Navy pilot Brian David Sweeney left his wife mere moments before his plane crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower as part of the Sept. 11 terror attacks has been making the rounds Friday, still evoking deep emotion nearly two decades later.

"Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I'm on an airplane that's been hijacked," Sweeney said in the 21-second message before United Airlines Flight 175 hit the tower.

"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."

His widow, Julie Sweeney Roth, found solace in his words.

“It was his final request of me. And his final way to let me know that he was gonna be OK and that he believed that he’d see me again,” she said in a video furnished by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum that also features the voicemail. “And that’s all I needed to know.

“I’m thankful for it. So thankful for that message because at least I know, without a shadow of a doubt, what he was thinking.”

Sweeney was 38 at the time of his death. On Friday’s 19th anniversary of the attacks, TODAY's Sheinelle Jones was no less moved than ever hearing Sweeney’s words.

"I just read this again this morning .... and it took my breath away," Sheinelle captioned a picture of the transcript on Instagram.

"A lot of us may feel a bit of anxiety these days .... trying to balance Covid concerns, social unrest, family duties and work .... but you know what? We’re here. Life is so precious. Let’s keep everything in perspective today. Thanks Lilliana for the post. God Bless the families who were affected on 9/11. Love you guys."

Sweeney's widow has since remarried and had two children, reports Newsweek.