‘I was given a gift.’ East Hanover man who was supposed to be on Flight 93 reflects on Sept. 11 anniversary

On Sept. 11, 2001, East Hanover resident Frank Robertazzi says he was given what he considers to be a gift.
Robertazzi intentionally missed United Flight 93 out of Newark so that he could spend more time with his then-5-year-old daughter. It was a decision that saved his life.
Flight 93 was initially headed from Newark to San Francisco. It was a flight he would take once a month for work.
Robertazzi missed that flight so that he could take 5-year-old Aubri to kindergarten at Florham Park Elementary. He would miss the flight and get on Flight 91, which never left the tarmac because of the terror attacks.
It wasn’t until Robertazzi made it home and turned on the television that he found it was his initial flight went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“At the bottom of the ticker, it says Flight 93 is missing. I said, 'Wait a minute that was my flight.' I looked through my paperwork and then it all occurred to me,” Robertazzi says.
Robertazzi says the event was a life-changing experience that he took advantage of.
“I feel I was given a gift of another 40-something years,” he says. “I stopped climbing the corporate ladder in terms of my ambition and I changed jobs a couple of years later and I am so much in a happier place I believe if this didn’t happen.”
Missing that flight saved his life and allowed Robertazzi to see his daughter grow. He says he uses the anniversary of the attack to reflect and process what happened.
“I think of, not only the 3,000 people that died on that day, but all the other people, children, that grew without parents and how we were so unified as a country back then and I feel bad today we are so divided,” Robertazzi says.
The World Trade Center holds a special memory for the family. It’s where Robertazzi proposed marriage to his wife in 1988.