INTERACTIVE: COLORADO REMEMBERS 9/11
Kask and her husband, Peter, lived in New York in 2001. She has vivid memories of the day that changed so many lives, including hers.
"It was a just a beautiful, crisp, full day. It was really nice and warm," Kask recalled.
On the morning of Sept. 11, she and a friend were driving into Manhattan to pick up her husband. They just happened to be admiring the skyline when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
"We didn't know what had happened because the plane hit from the opposite side, so you just saw papers and stuff shoot out and you knew that something was wrong. The two of us said, 'Oh my God! What was that?'" Kask said.
Later, they were stuck in traffic inside the 2-mile long Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which emerges right near the base of the Twin Towers, when the first building collapsed.
"People were running towards us screaming, and there was just this thick black cloud of smoke behind them," Kask said. "The tunnel was very dark and you couldn't really see too well. People were so desperate to get out some of them left their cars running and doors open."
After Kask made her way through the long, dark tunnel she sought shelter.
"I ran up to one of the toll booths, and I hid inside because being pregnant and that far along in my pregnancy, I didn't want to breath in any exhaust, fumes or dust. So I actually had been holding my T-shirt to my face as I was running through the tunnel," she said.
Eventually, Kask made it to Long Island and decided to go to her previously scheduled doctor's appointment.
"He said, 'You know, your baby is going to be born this day.' And I wasn't feeling anything. He just attributed it all to the emotional and physical stress," Kask said.
Cell phone service was down, but through friends, her husband Peter was able to find her at the hospital in time for their first child's birth.
"On our birth announcement, the two of us are sitting there holding this beautiful baby. I have asbestos and stuff in my hair. My feet are bandaged from running," Kask said.
They called Aidan their light at the end of the tunnel, but after 9/11 there would still be challenges ahead. Peter Kask was soon diagnosed with cancer.
"So I'm sitting in the waiting room with our baby, Aidan, who is all of 8 weeks old in his little carry-on and the surgeon came out and said during the surgery, 'I'm so sorry,'" Kask said.
It was too advanced to cure, so the Kask family decided to leave the stressful, post-9/11 environment in New York and move to a more peaceful place. Near Telluride, Colo., Peter enjoyed five more years.
"Unfortunately he went into the hospital for the last time on 9/11, on Aidan's fifth birthday, and he didn't come home," Kask said.
Each year, September 11th is a significant and emotional day for Kask. She mourns the loss of so many innocent people on that day and of her husband. But their deaths are also a reminder to her of the value of our lives, and so she will also be sure to smile as she celebrates the birthday of her only child.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)