Donna Hickey of Bethpage -- whose firefighter husband Brian died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- began Sunday as she does every anniversary of that horrific day.

She went to church.

Donna Hickey, 57, said she appreciates the memorials and events that community groups schedule for victims such as herself, but what she really wants on Sept. 11 is to be around family and community.

"With strangers, you're just one among many. When you're with your family, everybody loved Brian," she said.

Brian Hickey was a captain with the FDNY's Rescue 4 of Woodside at the time he died. He celebrated his 20th anniversary with the department on Sept. 5, 2001. He was also a volunteer in the Bethpage Fire Department.

One of Brian and Donna Hickey's four children, Daniel, 33, is now a firefighter with Ladder 126 in Jamaica, a company for which Brian once served as a lieutenant.

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Donna Hickey went to memorial services during the week, including a Friday night ceremony at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum where her husband was honored. She called the ceremony "absolutely beautiful" -- and added that it was just as meaningful that Brian's name was mentioned in today's church service at St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage.

Hickey attended church Sunday with longtime friend Coleen Colleluori, whose husband Joseph -- an FDNY lieutenant who worked at Ground Zero after the attacks -- died of cancer in 2007. The two later attended a gathering of about 30 family members and friends.

"It doesn't go away ever," she said. "I have to surround myself with the people that I know -- people who better knew Brian and I."