McCann and her husband, Thomas, spent their honeymoon in Hawaii
nearly 20 years ago.
week, McCann will sprinkle her husband's ashes at the Wailea
Golf Course on Maui, where he played a round of golf as a newlywed.
J. McCann, 46, a midtown Manhattan firefighte, died during the
Sept. 11 rescue effort. "He spent 221/2 years on the job,"
McCann said. "He was hoping to retire in January."
and her children, Sean and Courtney, were among the first 600
New Yorkers who accepted Gov. Ben Cayetano's invitation to spend
a week in Hawaii, with a free flight from Hawaiian Airlines
and rooms donated by 13 hotels. Another 600 visitors will travel
to Hawaii through 2002.
week's visitors represent New York Fire and Police departments,
the New York Port Authority and the Office of Emergency Management.
Most are spouses and family members of rescue workers lost during
the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
she collected her baggage yesterday at Honolulu Airport, McCann
said she and her children plan to rent a car and tour Oahu on
their own, as well as fly to Maui, revisiting the places she
and her husband discovered together as newlyweds. "We're
staying in the same hotels," the Hilton Hawaiian Village
and the Hyatt Regency in Maui, she said.
said the flight was wonderful. "We were treated like first
class, no matter where you sat." The guests were greeted
with red, white and blue water streamers from the Hickam Fire
Department as the plane taxied into the terminal, and Hawaiian
Airlines employees greeted them with Hawaiian music, hula and
from a welcome reception last night and a farewell luau on Sunday,
the visitors will be left to themselves for a week of rest and
relaxation, although many local businesses and community members
have offered gifts, free services and discounted rates
going to stick my feet in the Pacific Ocean," New York
City firefighter Bob Jackson said. He plans to kayak and take
free surfing lessons.
role during the trip includes helping families during their
vacation. "We'll be making sandcastles and taking care
of children," he said.
a "Engine 54 Ladder 4" T-shirt, Jackson said the weather
in New York was mild, but the lighting of the Christmas tree
in Rockefeller Center made it evident that the holiday season
had arrived. However, he added: "It's also a sad time in
our firehouse. We lost 15 brothers."
up one of the biggest groups of visitors were the 16 family
members of New York firefighter Raymond York. York died when
the second of the World Trade Center towers collapsed, and his
was one of the first bodies recovered.
than brave," said his brother, Ritchie. "He was a
20-year veteran that was supposed to retire this past October."
sister Elizabeth said Raymond had once visited Hawaii and would
often tell family members what they should do and see if they
ever took a trip themselves. York says in a sense, the trip
enables them to fulfill their brother's wishes.
just so overwhelmed ... so grateful," said Elizabeth York.
"It's so difficult. He was such a big part of our lives."
grieving family members were not ready to take a vacation. Annmarie
Johnson, 33, said she came in place of her sister, whose firefighter
husband died in the rescue effort. "She didn't want to
come without him," Johnson said.
York Fire Chief Joseph Pfeifer, the highest-ranking official
among yesterday's visitors, said the trip to Hawaii was very
important to those who had lost family members, friends and
colleagues. "It means a chance to get away and be with
immediate family," he said.
many, Pfeifer said, "Sept. 11 continued on and on, and
this is a new beginning."
New York Foundation For The Arts