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Duke grad remembers 9/11 in Washington, DC

Posted September 8, 2011

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— Duke University graduate Matt Ferraguto was working in Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001. At the time, he was the deputy press secretary for Sen. Edward Kennedy.

On that day, then First Lady Laura Bush was going to appear before Kennedy’s committee at the Capitol.

“We were all frantically getting ready for the hearing,” Ferraguto recalled.

Then, they saw reports of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York City.

“Even when the second plane hit, I still refused to believe that it could be intentional,” Ferraguto said.

Ferraguto said no one thought they were in any danger at the Capitol, until a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

“At that point, everybody from the Capitol complex went outside, and it’s not as if we got blocks and blocks away. We were standing right outside of the Capitol building just staring at it,” Ferraguto said. “We could actually see the smoke, you know, from the (National) Mall.”

Ferraguto said the days following the attack, the city was essentially shut down.

“It was less than a month later that we had the anthrax attacks,” he said. “One of those letters actually affected Senator Kennedy’s committee offices.”

Immediately following the attacks, Ferraguto, then 25, said he didn't think about leaving Washington D.C.

“The irony is you have the World Trade Center, the Pentagon attack, but you actually think about the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania,” he said. “United Airlines 93 was probably headed for the Capitol.”

Washington, D.C. Duke grad remembers 9/11

Ferraguto is grateful to the passengers of Flight 93..

“It was those brave individuals on that plane who may have saved the lives of hundreds of my coworkers and maybe even me. It’s really humbling to think about and makes you want to live you life with greater purpose,” he said.

A few months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Ferraguto left Washington D.C. Now, he lives in Raleigh and works for a marketing firm.

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