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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

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Brian Anthony Moss

Age: 34

Hometown: Sperry, Okla., USA

Occupation: Electronics technician first class, U.S. Navy

Location: Ground, Pentagon

"My husband lived to spend money. If he wasn't on eBay at night, he would be looking for garage sales on the weekends. Our running joke is that that he was probably on eBay when the Pentagon was hit. His motto was 'One man's trash is another man's treasure,' and I've got a horrendous amount of antiques at my house that attest to this philosophy. He learned his garage sale etiquette from his mother, and then passed it on to our son, who now loves going to garage sales himself." -- Mary Lou Moss, wife

Profile:

The night before American Airlines Flight 77 rammed into the Pentagon, Navy electronics technician Brian Anthony Moss called his mother in the tiny town of Sperry, Okla., to brag about his new digs. After months of waiting, Moss was finally bumped up to a fancy Pentagon office on the building's west side -- now a nightmare of rubble.

"It was like getting a new uniform for him -- it made him that much prouder of his service," his mother, Pat Moss, said yesterday. "He talked about the huge Navy seal in the floor right outside."

It was the last time she spoke with him.

Waiting to hear about Moss, a petty officer second class, are his parents and two siblings, his wife and two children.

Moss's life has been one of drive and devotion.

In January, he was selected for the prestigious Sailor of the Year citation for Naval District Washington for his work during the previous year. A few months ago, he told his family that he hoped to be promoted to petty officer first class this fall, said his sister, Angie Moss Howard. His 35th birthday is next month.

"I have integrity and make sure I live by the Navy core values. You can't talk the talk if you don't walk the walk," Moss told Sea Services Weekly in February. "You can't be successful at something you are forced to do. "

His theory on his naval success, he said, was that because he had enlisted later than most, he knew what he wanted and worked harder.

Moss grew up in the small town north of Tulsa, the son of a truck driver, Billie, and a dietitian. He graduated from Sperry High School in 1985 at the top of his class and entered Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College on an academic scholarship. But after achieving a near-perfect score on a particular financial test, he left school and joined a Tulsa bank as an accountant, his mother said.

After working at financial institutions for five years, Moss felt a void in his life, said family members.

"He told his daddy that he wasn't content. . . . He wanted to be challenged," his mother said.

Moss enlisted in the Navy in March 1990 and by fall he was stationed in Adak, Alaska, where he met his future wife, MaryLou. They have two children, Ashton, 7, and Connor, 5.

For three years, Moss had been stationed at Bolling Air Force Base, primarily assigned to train the ceremonial guard at Arlington National Cemetery. This year, he was thrilled to be transferred to the Pentagon as an electronics technician.

"Brian always said anything in life that comes easy, you should question it, because nothing ever comes easy," said his sister, Angie.

"What's our biggest hope? That he's alive and just buried in there and that when they find him he'll just be mad and hungry."

-- Lois Romano

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Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage


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