Honoring San Francisco Hero Betty Ong on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

The commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, was deeply felt across our country and world.

When we reflect upon the events of that tragic day and the thousands of lives that were lost, it can feel overwhelming, even after so much time has passed. For many of us, the day that changed the world forever still feels like it happened just yesterday.

At Cypress Lawn, it is an honor to serve as the place of eternal final rest for Betty Ong, a San Francisco woman whose bravery we still remember and honor today.

Betty was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which was the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. She was the first person to notify the airline that the plane had been hijacked, and for over 20 minutes, she was able to calmly provide information that was crucial to the investigation.

Betty’s memory is still honored every day at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in Chinatown, which was renamed after her in 2012. The Betty Ong Foundation was also created in her honor.

Betty is laid to rest at Cypress Lawn within the Primrose Family Estates. The youngest of four siblings, Betty was 45 years old at the time of her death.

The following is written about her on our website:

“She was warm, caring, thoughtful, and considerate, always thinking of others before herself. Gifted with a sense of humor, Betty had a knack for making people feel comfortable and putting them at ease. She had a smile about her that could light up a room and lift up a spirit. She could feed laughter to anyone’s heart. Betty had a great love for children and senior citizens. She paid special attention to them whenever they were aboard a flight she was working. On many occasions, Betty would drive a half-hour from her home into Boston to have lunch and take walks with senior citizens. She shared stories about her far away travels with the neighboring children and often had trinkets to give them. Betty worked as a flight attendant with American Airlines for 14 years. She eventually rose to the position of apurser, a head flight attendant. Betty was a tireless worker. Whenever she worked a late-night flight, she would never sit down and relax. Even when passengers were sleeping, she would walk down the aisles and softly talk to the passengers who were awake and provide blankets to those who were asleep. It would not be unusual to find Betty caring for a passenger’s baby while their parents rested.”

As part of the 9/11 anniversary, several news outlets visited Cypress Lawn with Betty’s family to pay tribute to her legacy. Below are the links to the many news stories about Betty’s heroism.

NBC Bay Area – San Francisco Family Remembers Flight Attendant Who Lost Life in 9/11 Attacks

ABC 7 News – 20 Years Later: Family remembers 9/11 hero and Bay Area native, Betty Ong

KPIX – Family Mourns Death of SF-Born Flight Attendant Who First Reported 9/11 Hijacking

KTVU – Remembering 9/11 hero Betty Ong, a San Francisco Chinatown native

KRON – Ceremony honors the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks

KSTF – 20th Anniversary of Betty Ong

Beijing Times

Southern Metropolis News of Guangdong

If you or a loved one are in need of grief support or any other services, don’t hesitate to contact our caring team of professionals at Cypress Lawn. We are available to you and your family 24/7.