Donna Hickey got a birthday present June 11 - only the birthday wasn't hers.
On the day that her husband, Brian, would have turned 49, Hickey learned that her husband's remains had finally been positively identified, 21 months after he died in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I definitely feel that I can accept this a little better now," Hickey said.
Brian Hickey, a captain with Rescue Co. 4 in Woodside who lived in Bethpage, L.I., died responding to the emergency at the World Trade Center while working overtime with another rescue company. It was only his second tour after returning to work following the disastrous Father's Day fire in June 2001 that killed two Rescue 4 colleagues as well as a member of Ladder Co. 163.
"He did want to go that way," Donna Hickey said. "He said, 'Everybody's got to go,' and he hoped that he would go as a hero."
According to the Fire Department, 209 of the 343 firefighters who died when the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center collapsed have been positively identified.
The notification that Hickey's remains had been identified came on a day when his wife and other family members were already thinking of him, Donna Hickey said.
After spending two hours visiting Hickey's grave, his wife and four children attended a dinner with other friends and family. During the day, a close friend of Donna Hickey told her "Donna, he's going to let you know that he's still with you."
Her brother-in-law reported seeing the fallen captain in a dream smiling and giving him a thumbs up.
So Hickey said she had almost expected it when three Fire Department officials and two priests arrived at her Bethpage home to give her the news.
She also said there was no doubt in her mind that her husband was looking after her and chose his birthday to remind her.
"My husband was extraordinary, and I am not surprised," Hickey said. "I wouldn't have expected anything less from him."
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2003 Community News Group
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