'My Beautiful Karen Is Smiling in Heaven'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Karen Juday worked as a secretary at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of the North Tower. At StoryCorps, her fiance, Richard Pecorella, remembered her.


Karen Juday worked as a secretary at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of the North Tower. At StoryCorps, her fiancé, Richard Pecorella, remembered her.

RICHARD PECORELLA: I knew as soon as I looked at her that she was the one. It was magical. I can't describe it. I couldn't tell her that, but I was like a 15-year-old again. I got all google-eyed and didn't know what to do or say and stumbling, wasn't like me at all, wasn't the typical macho Italian guy from Brooklyn. When I met Karen, somehow she relaxed me. She just taught me patience. I had very little patience.

Basically, I was, you know, one of those guys rolled down the window and screamed at the drivers when they weren't driving the way I thought they should be. And she toned me down. She showed me to be nicer to people, give it a second thought before you start yelling. And I've carried that with me. Other than her going to work, there wasn't a time we weren't together. Every morning, Karen would drive with me to my office and then she'd take the subway from my office one stop to the Trade Center.

I worked in Brooklyn so my window across the East River, I could see the twin towers. So I'm doing some work and one of my workers comes in and says, Richie, I just heard that the Trade Center got hit with a plane. I turned around and I see the building burning and I took my office chair and I threw it at my window. Then they brought the nurse up. She gives me a bottle of water. I have the bottle of water in my - it's in my hand and my hand is trembling so much that it's splashing all over me.

I couldn't even hold the bottle in my hand. I miss her eyes. Her eyes sparkled to me. One day they were blue, the next day they were green depending on how the light hit them. Karen, I'll always be in love with you and I will see you again.


CORNISH: Richard Pecorella remembering Karen Juday, his fiancé. These 9/11 stories will be housed at the national September 11th memorial and museum. All StoryCorps recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.


CORNISH: What one word describes your emotions on the day of the attacks and how you feel today, take part in our interactive project, September 11, Then and Now In One Word, at our website,


CORNISH: You're listening to live special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks from NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from