As reported by: Sharyn Alfonsi for ABC News (x):
Ted Kennedy and the Attacks of Sept. 11
A day after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Cindy McGinty thought she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
"I felt like a zombie. I could barely stand up," said the Foxboro Mass., mother of two young boys.
McGinty’s husband, Mike, a 42-year-old insurance executive, had been killed inside the World Trade Center. She was home in Massachusetts with the couple’s sons.
"My phone rang, and there was this big booming voice on it," she said.
It was Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., calling to express his condolences.
"I think, given his own history — he had lost his own brother to very tragic events … he had lost many members of his own family — I just thought it must have brought back memories for him," she said.
It was a difficult call Kennedy would make 176 more times. Calling to offer his help to nearly all of the Massachusetts families who lost a loved one that day.
"And I needed his help," McGinty said. "Immediately."
Mike McGinty had served 12 years in the U.S. Navy. But the Navy wouldn’t send an honor guard to his funeral because his family couldn’t find his discharge papers.
"I couldn’t handle this," Cindy McGinty said. "And I thought, ‘Sen. Kennedy said to call if there were any problems, I have a problem. I’m going to take him up on his offer.’"
Days later Mike McGinty had his honor guard, thanks to Kennedy.
Kennedy sent every one of the Massachusetts families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 a personal, hand-signed letter every year following the attacks.
"Time never heals; we carry on because we have to," said Christy Coombs of Abington, Mass., reading aloud from the letter sent to her by Kennedy.
Coombs lost her husband, Jeffrey, in the attacks.
"He knew we were still feeling the loss," she said of Kennedy.
Kennedy even invited the McGintys to join him sailing — and they did. Yet, there were no photo ops, no press.
"To Cindy McGinty, who doesn’t know the word defeat," McGinty read from a note to her from Kennedy.
"If he thinks that about me, then I can certainly put one foot in front of the other and keep going," she said. "It really does inspire me."