Wednesday, September 09, 2009
WE REMEMBER BETTY ONG
I am honored to be a part of his project again. Please be sure to visit Project 2,996 to read about so many others that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Betty Ann Ong was a flight attendant on American Airlines, Flight 11, the first airplane to become hijacked on September 11, 2001.
Speaker of the House Nacy Pelosi recognized the Heroism of Betty Ong on September 22, 2004
Washington D.C. - "Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Betty Ong, a native daughter of San Francisco's Chinatown and a hero for our Nation on September 11, 2001.
"On that tragic day, Betty Ong was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston bound for Los Angeles. Flight 11 left Boston's Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. with Mohammed Atta and four other terrorists on board. From the time the terrorists took over the plane until she lost contact, Betty remained calm and professional. For 23 minutes, she relayed vital information to her colleagues on the ground. The information Betty provided in that horrifying situation later allowed the FBI to discern the identity of the terrorists onboard Flight 11.
"In January of this year, the 9/11 Commission heard a tape of Betty's urgent message. In its report, the Commission confirmed that Betty was indeed the first person to report the hijacking. 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean declared, ``Betty Ong is a true American hero.''
"On September 21, 2001, a memorial service for Betty was held in San Francisco's Chinatown where Betty was born and maintained strong family and community ties. At that time Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed September 21 to be ``Betty Ong Day.'' This year, the Chinatown Community Development Center is again honoring her.
"It is with pride and sadness that I join in paying tribute to Betty's courage and her heroism. I hope it is a comfort to her family that so many people remember and honor her heroic acts."
The New York Times said of Ong in her tribute:
“She was feminine, very humorous, very caring, and she loved people," said Cathie Ong, whose sister Betty was an attendant on Flight 11. "She saw the humor and loved to bring out the humor. And she just loved to laugh. She had this habit, when she laughed, it was just very distinct. She would slap her knees when she would laugh, yet on the plane she was very professional."
Passengers and crew members loved Ms. Ong, 45. "She made everybody feel like they knew her right away," Cathie Ong said. "She had a knack for making people feel at ease. But if you were out of line with her, she wouldn't hesitate to put you in place. She was tough when she had to be."
Recently, Betty Ong's parents and siblings listened to the tape of her speaking with her supervisor during the hijacking, describing what was happening. "She was outstanding, under those circumstances," Cathie Ong said. "It's hard for us all to imagine ever being in those shoes. My family and I, we cried. She was just exemplary in her performance, her attitude and everything."
"She was very take-charge, and we were very proud of her. She was very calm."
In memory of Betty, the Betty Ann Ong Foundation, a not for profit public charity, was established to continue her legacy. The advocacy of the Betty Ann Ong Foundation serves to educate children to the positive benefits of lifelong physical activity and healthy eating habits and to provide opportunities for children to experience the great outdoors so that they can grow to become healthy, strong and productive individuals.
Betty's memory will live through the Foundation's work for the advocacy of children and to give recognition to heroic flight attendants who continue to work hard to keep the passengers safe in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
A beautiful tribute from her brother Harry
Other sites with memorials: