Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brian D. Sweeney, United Flight 175

As together we approach the tenth anniversary of the attack on our country, the loss of those who lives ended on 9/11/2001 is no less heartbreaking.

As a participant in the 2996 project, I was assigned the privilege of memorializing Brian D. Sweeney, a passenger on United Flight 175.

Of Viking Heart was written in tribute to a man I never met but came to know only by his passing, through the voices of his friends and family.

Today, I will think of those he left behind much too soon and their loss that never ends.

And I'll think of Brian,
38, who claimed to be part Viking and part Leonardo da Vinci.

Others remember Brian here.

We will never forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Brian D. Sweeney, United Flight 175


Of Viking Heart

According to Viking mythology, Odin, God of Wisdom and War, sent out beautiful battle maidens called Valkyries, to collect those among the slain who displayed the utmost valour on the battlefield.

The female warriors, who soared the skies on winged horses, chose the most heroic among the fallen and carried them to the hall of Valhalla, where the heroes became einherjar, warriors of one army.

On September 11, 2001, the Valkyries flew alongside United Flight 175, ready to escort passengers and crew to Odin's great hall.

Brian D. Sweeney, of Irish descent and of Viking heart, joined the Warriors of One Army that morning.

Brian, 38, who claimed to be part Viking and part Leonardo da Vinci, greeted Odin as one of America's finest young men.

A resident of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Brian was a lieutenant in the Navy and a Desert Storm veteran, protecting the no-fly zones. He was a radar intercepting officer aboard F-14 Tomcat fighter planes in the VF-211 "Bounty Hunters" squadron, serving on the USS Nimitz and USS Ranger aircraft carriers. Brian graduated at the head of his class at the Naval Officers Training School in Pensacola, Fla.

He was a staff instructor at the Navy's prestigious Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, Calif., from 1995 to 1996, and a staff member for the Tomcat Strike Fighter Weapons School in 1993. He was also squadron avionics/weapons division officer from 1991 to 1993 and squadron weapons training/tactics development officer from 1993 to 1995.

Brian worked for a variety of private-sector aeronautical companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp., Spectratek Corp. and Horizons Technology. From March 2006, he was a systems consultant for the Department of Defense and aeronautics industry at Brandes Associates in Los Angeles.

Described as "side-splittingly hilarious, athletic, stylish and intelligent", Brian believed most in dedicating time to family and friends. (Cape Cod Online)

At the date of his passing, Brian's survivors included his wife, Julie L. (Busa) Sweeney and his parents, Leonard H. and Luise A. (Mulhall) Sweeney of Spencer, Massachusetts; two brothers, Kevin F. Sweeney and John P. Sweeney, both of Spencer; a sister, Anne E. Sweeney of Spencer; his maternal grandmother, Rachel V. Demers of Spencer; and aunts and uncles. (Brian D. Sweeney Memorial Page).

A true animal lover, Brian also left behind Java, a Chocolate Lab, and Dakota, a 13-year-old Siberian Husky-German Shepherd Dog. (Pet Harbor)

In honor of Sweeney's Viking heritage, a replica of a Viking ship was set aflame and launched into the Barnstable Harbor, October 2001. According to Viking lore, ships are strongly associated with life, providing transport to the water for food, commerce and travel.

Aside from the American flags, it was the only burst of color on that dreary day.

Brian D. Sweeney, American Einherjar.

We will never forget.

"What is lost will return, what is left will survive."
--The Myth of Baldr


The dying youth's eyes opened and with almost lifeless stare,
With weary smile he greeted his sad comrade kneeling there.

'The valkyries, they're coming. They ride beyond the moon.
I see their steeds; the maidens. They're coming for me soon.'
Hope filed the dying soldier as his comrade hid to weep;
The Nordic gods had summoned their young hero to the keep.

His soldier friend was grieving and so filled with Christian care,
Raised his eyes to follow the young dying soldier's stare.
Of myths the sky was naked; no valkyries nor steeds;
The ancient gods were vanquished, as were their old time deeds.

But he was still yet living and so the truth denied,
For fallen heroes only are called upon to ride.
The dying youth saw clearly the maidens in the sky;
Upon their brave white stallions - borne to those who die.

Borne to brave young mortals whose life rewards forego;
Who give their life, their everything, 'gainst nation's common foe.
The soldier's eyes grew brighter as the valkyries drew near;
Flaxen maids of beauty with their shields and silver spear.

A green-eyed maid dismounted with her weapons laid aside;
He melted in her warm embrace, endeared to new found bride.
With tender care she lifted the young soldier born to die,
And in her arms upon the steed they journeyed through the sky.

They sometime reached Valhalla and the hall of Odin's reign;
Thatched with shields and walls of spears to house the mighty slain.
With fond farewell the maiden bid the fallen youth goodbye;
And carried on her quest of love across the starlit sky.

Filled with renewed vigor and his body whole again,
He stepped inside the mighty hall; the home of all the slain.
In comradeship partaken and with milk from goat Heidrun;
Valhalla and God Odin, had gained another son.

-The Michael Walsh Collection