The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission approved Thursday to name a Chinatown recreation center after a local Chinese-American flight attendant who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

According to department officials the commission unanimously approved to name the center at 1199 Mason St. as the Betty Ong Chinese Recreation Center.

The center is undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in early 2012.

Mayor Ed Lee requested in September the department honor the city’s heroine by dedicating the center with her name, Betty Ong, officials said.

Ong grew up in Chinatown and went to San Francisco public schools and as a city youth played at the center with her siblings, officials said.

She was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which was flying from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001. She was reportedly the first person to report that the plane had been hijacked. Her call helped advise air traffic controllers to ground every plane in the country.

“(Ong) is truly an American hero, and we are proud to have a recreation center named after her,” said department general manager Phil Ginsburg.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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