SPERRY – When Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Anthony Moss was killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, his niece was just a child, but the memories of that day remain.
“We got picked up from school and when we got home, my grandma was just devastated,” said Kodye Geeding, now 28. “The news was on and she just sat there with a phone in her hand and wouldn’t move at all, just watching the news and holding the phone waiting because she knew he was going to call her.”
Moss, 34, of Sperry, was an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy who had just been selected to work for the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. On Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77, flown by terrorists, crashed into the Pentagon killing Moss and 124 others inside the building.
“It was just a month before his birthday,” Geeding said. “At my grandparents’ house, which just sold this year, there was a tree planted in the front yard. The Cherokee Nation planted the tree in his memory. When they first put it in, it was like 2 foot tall. Now it is huge, over 70 foot tall.”
In an interview with the Tulsa World in 2010, Moss’ mother, Patsy Lou “Pat” Moss, remembered him as “everybody’s big brother.”
“Brian loved to read, he loved to be involved,” she said. “He loved to volunteer. He was my son, but he was also my best friend.”
His father, Billie Moss, died in 2012 at age 68; his mother died in 2017 at age 70.
“She was ready,” Geeding said. “She missed Brian. She was never herself after she lost him.”
Moss enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and was stationed in Adak, Alaska. He was later stationed at the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, performing in ceremonies that included a presidential inauguration, and laid fellow shipmates from the U.S.S. Cole to rest at Arlington.
“I have integrity and make sure I live by Navy core values,” Moss told Sea Services Weekly in February 2001. “You can’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk. You can’t be successful at something you are forced to do.”
A 2nd Class Petty Officer, Moss took an advancement exam a week prior to the Pentagon attack.
“His hopes were answered when the results were determined,” a biography at the Pentagon Memorial states. “He can now rest as an Electronics Technician 1st Class Petty Officer. It is without a doubt that Brian Moss defined the Navy. He was the embodiment of honor, courage and commitment.”
Moss and his wife, Mary Lou, have two children. His legacy lives on through the Brian Moss Patriotic Memorial Scholarship, which is given to graduating students from Sperry and Skiatook high schools. Scholarships have been funded through the Brian Moss Memorial Golf Tournament held each September.
The airplane that hit the Pentagon was one of four planes hijacked and crashed by al-Qaeda terrorists. Two planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and another one, Flight 93, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and flight crew tried to retake control. A total of 2,996 people was killed in the 9/11 attacks.