Legacy of man who passed in the terror attacks continues to inspire 20 years later

September 11th Anniversary

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Where the Twin Towers once stood, there now exists a shrine to those who passed in the September 11 attacks, with part inspiration and dedication.

Symbolized in the reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and embodied by Julie Sweeney Roth.

“This place has always given me a sort of peace, especially on days like an anniversary day,” Sweeney Roth said.

Her husband Brian was a passenger on the flight that crashed into the south Twin Tower. Julie was teaching high school in Massachusetts.

Brian was a former US Navy pilot and instructor who had recently taken a job with a defense contractor.

Julie’s principal pulled her out of class, and she would soon learn the United Airlines Flight 175 that Brian was on was hijacked.

She got the news from Brian’s mom after he had called them both.

“He was able to call me that morning five minutes before the plane crashed and he just told me to do good,” Sweeney Roth said.

Sweeney Roth sped home to press play on the answering machine, and was able to hear Brian’s voice during the harrowing final moments of his life.

“It’s a very general statement, but there is a line between good and not good, and I’ve tried to do what I can to be a good human, a good person in this world,” Sweeney Roth said.

Among other things, Sweeney Roth does good by volunteering at the memorial.

“Even if I can affect one person on the day that I’m there, that makes a difference and that’s all you can do as an individual,” Sweeney Roth said.

Brian left one last message to Julie before hanging up the phone.

“Go have good times, same to my family and everybody, and I totally love you and I will see you when you get here,” Brian said on the voicemail.

For Julie, it’s that hope that gets her through many difficult days.

“I guess you can call it an afterlife or heaven, it’s that belief. It gets me through the days,” Sweeney Roth said.

Julie Sweeney Roth will be in attendance tomorrow, as she has every year since her husband’s death.

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