I woke up this morning to the sound of blaring phones throughout the house. I thought it was just another flash flood warning here in Hawaii, but I was instead greeted with the fearful news of an incoming missile and the words "this is not a drill." I jumped off of the couch I'd slept on, ran and grabbed my purse off the table, and yelled around the house for everyone to get up and find cover.
I've spent the last eighteen months away living in New York City, and was given the wake up call of a lifetime when I was faced with the harsh reality that my humble little home of Hawaii was no longer the safe paradise I'd grown up in. I've always taken pride in being the tough girl that doesn't let anything or anyone break her, but I broke down in tears on the edge of my stairwell as I realized just how powerless I was.
I frantically refreshed my Google search and Twitter feed looking for any news from government or state officials, only to come up with nothing after the first ten minutes of the warning. My parents turned on the TV, and every doubt that this was a false alarm vanished as the warning sirens blared across the screen and the text said that the military had confirmed this missile attack.
I'll never forget the tears rolling down my face as I held my grandmother in the middle of the dining room while I witnessed her cry for the first time. I'll never forget watching my mother kneeling at the edge of the stairs while she prayed for my brother's safety as he and his teammates drove towards the mountains in the middle of baseball practice. I'm still in shock knowing that my mom thought she might be saying goodbye to her son.
I will forever remember the Saturday morning I spent crammed inside my pantry as my aunt held onto her cane next to me. I now understand just how important having those emergency kits and supplies are, and how precious life and time are. I am glad my family and friends are safe, but am outraged that it took government and state officials nearly forty minutes to confirm this as a false alarm.
We can no longer downplay the possibility of these attacks, and I can only hope and pray that this serves as a wake up call for state and government officials to ensure that we are properly prepared for these situations. I will never get back those heart-wrenching thirty-eight minutes as I feared for my life and the future of my community, and hope that we can someday live in a world where we don't have to even worry about the possibility of being attacked by foreign enemies.
To all of my friends and family, thank you for your prayers. To those of you who also shared this experience today, I'm here for you, and I'm glad you're okay too. If there's anything we can take from this experience today, I ask that we all see above the politics today and hug each other a little tighter, and urge our government to take the actions necessary to ensure that we are as best equipped for a potential attack as possible.
Here's to being blessed with another day, and I can only hope that someday my children won't have to experience something like this.