Recalling Sept. 11: Two Stories, Two Outcomes

Grete and Keith Meerholz at StoryCorps.

Grete and Keith Meerholz at StoryCorps. Keith Meerholz narrowly escaped the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. StoryCorps hide caption

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Eight weeks ago, StoryCorps opened a booth at the World Trade Center site. The booth records the stories of anyone who wants to share them — and special slots are reserved for survivors, rescue workers, and families remembering loved ones lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Sunday marks the fourth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers, where nearly 3,000 lives were lost. It was a day on which destinies, plans, and expectations were shaken, changed, even obliterated.

That was the case for Richard Pecorella, an investment banker in New York. His fiancee, Karen Juday, worked as a secretary at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of the North Tower. She perished in the attack, four years after meeting Pecorella and moving to New York.

In the confusion of that day, in which accidents of fate determined so much, there were also surprising stories of survival. Small changes in schedules, a missed train or a forgotten briefcase, have been analyzed and wondered at by survivors and loved ones.

For Keith Meerholz, then an insurance broker for Marsh & McLennan in the North Tower, the day is one he and his wife, Grete, still recall with fear. Meerholz was on an express elevator to his 100th-floor office when the first plane hit. He survived and managed to make his way out of the building.

Stories from the StoryCorps oral history project can be heard every Friday on 'Morning Edition'. Recordings of participants' conversations also go to the Library of Congress.

Richard Pecorella spoke about the World Trade Center at StoryCorps.

Richard Pecorella visited StoryCorps to speak about his fiancee. StoryCorps hide caption

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Richard Pecorella and his fiancee, Karen Juday.

Richard Pecorella and his fiancee, Karen Juday. StoryCorps hide caption

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