FDNY widow to join Prez for somber walk

When President Bush makes his solemn march to Ground Zero today, Marie Anaya will be alongside him, representing the families of the lost.

She will be wearing the FDNY uniform of her husband, Calixto (Charlie) Anaya, 34, one of six probationary firefighters who had not yet graduated from the FDNY Academy when they rushed into the burning towers and never emerged.

The young widow will be joined by her children, Kristina Marie, 9, Brendan, 7, and Rebecca, 2 - all wearing FDNY shirts emblazoned with their dad's name.

Under the uniform, Marie Anaya will tuck a red velvet pouch containing the gold chain her husband was wearing when he died. It was recovered in the rubble.

"I can imagine Charlie smiling down at me saying, 'You go girl, you're walking with the President,'" Anaya, 38, said yesterday. "I'm proud, and Charlie would be proud."

Charlie Anaya was the first man aboard lower Manhattan's Engine 4 after the bells sent them to the north tower, seconds after the hijacked plane hit.

Charlie called his wife on the way there. She begged him not to go inside, but Charlie - who had wanted to be a firefighter for as long as Marie could remember - said, "Hon, you have to understand, we go in when everyone else runs out."

Engine 4 and Ladder 15, across from the South Street Seaport, lost 15 men. They made it to the 28th floor and were evacuating people when the building came down.

Last night, as Marie prepared to leave her home in Suffern, Rockland County, to bring dinner to her husband's brothers at Engine 4, she began to cry.

"Mommy don't worry," Brendan said, hugging her. "Daddy's helping God now."

Michele McPhee