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September 23 2021 07:00 pm

Flight crew workers remember the heroic actions taken by coworkers during September 11th attacks


NEW YORK — The 9/11 attacks weigh heavy on the mind of millions, but for some flight crew — they say the heroic actions taken by their co-workers that day gives them purpose 20 years later.

Flight attendant Charleen Jones has put on her uniform to work flight more than 1,000 times.

For more than 20 years, she was based in Boston.

Charleen often flew coast to coast with her friend Betty Ong.

“Betty and I knew each other from training. Betty was in 87-42, I was in 87-43,” Charleen said.

Betty Ong flew for 14 years.

A purser, known for carrying her infectious smile down the aisle of any plane she worked.

A calm, cool demeanor that shined — on the day our country fell into darkness.

The moment terrorists took over the flight deck, Betty Ong picked up the airfone and dialed American Airlines Reservations.

Her call was routed to the Raleigh, North Carolina call center. A calm voice described what was happening.

“She passed all the information along, and that’s when they knew the plane had been hijacked,” Charleen said.

From her jumpseat in the back of the plane, Betty Ong relayed invaluable information about the men who strong-armed their way onto the flight deck after murdering two flight attendants.

Flight attendant Amy Sweeny also made calls — she relayed info to her flight service manager in Boston.

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11th — 87 of those were on board American 11

“They returned home, but not to Logan, not to their families,” Charleen said.

Everything changed that day for Charleen, but it’s what she held on to that’s given her strength for the last 20 years.

It’s the pride and responsibility she carried with her — every time she put on the uniform. She told herself, ‘Do it for flight 11.’

“That’s what we do, we’re there for safety. and we save lives, and that is exactly what Betty Ong and Amy Sweeny did on September 11th 2001,” Charleen said.

The 25 flight attendants and eight pilots lost on September 11th are remembered at the World Trade Center Memorial in lower Manhattan.

The crew of flight 11 will always be remembered for their voice of bravery, for being the first to tell America it was under attack.

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