Oakland’s Wanda Green

Flight attendant was aboard hijacked United Flight on 9/11

Wanda Green

As a young woman, Wanda Green sought her mother’s blessing to become a flight attendant. Though Aserene Smith was hesitant, she finally relented, and Wanda Green became one of the first African-Americans to join United Airlines as a flight attendant, according to her mother. Mrs. Green grew up in Oakland and married and lived for several years in Rockland County, N.Y., before settling in Linden. Whether she was listening to neighbors at their front gates in Linden, New Jersey, befriending the families she helped to find homes as a real estate agent, or comforting children during rough landings as a part-time United Airlines flight attendant, Wanda Anita Green delighted in helping others. Green, 49, was an earnest listener who never judged, said her longtime friend and fellow flight attendant Sugar Manley. “She would stay up all night with you, she just cared for your soul, your spirit,” said Manley. As a deacon at Linden Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Green visited people in local hospitals, and volunteered her time for church activities, said her daughter, Jennifer Green. Mrs. Green adored dancing the cha-cha and the slide, said Manley, but she wouldn’t buy herself new dancing shoes unless her children each had two pair. “Oh, she would sacrifice it all for her children,” said Manley. “Her shoes might have had a slight hole in them, but she wouldn’t do for herself. Her kids came first.” Mrs. Green, who worked as a United Airlines flight attendant for 29 years and was getting ready to retire, was aboard the hijacked United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco when it crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Mrs. Green had planned to visit her mother in Oakland, Calif. “Wherever she went, she made a friend, she really cared about people,” said Jennifer Green. After she earned a real estate license in 1996, Mrs. Green flew less frequently, and she worked as an office manager and agent at NorthStar Realty in South Orange. In addition to flying, she  was an active community volunteer, President of the PTA, a real estate agent and a deacon at her church. She was one of the best-liked and most admired flight attendants based in Newark. The New Jersey State Senate passed a resolution as testament to her contributions as a citizen and in recognition of her courage on flight 93.
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