Like many others living in Hawaii, I was awoken by an emergency alert on my iPhone. Really, the only other time I get these alerts are for flash flood warnings, so the first thing I did was check outside to see if it was raining. Seeing another beautiful day in paradise, I checked my phone and saw this message:
Not knowing exactly what to do, I jumped up and tried to find the remote control to turn on the TV. Why is it that you can never find that darn remote when you need it most? Stumbling around and throwing toys and dolls around, I finally located the remote and got the TV on! I figured something of this magnitude would surely warrant breaking through college basketball and Premiere League Soccer. But alas, nope, nothing on local TV. A quick glance at CNN and Fox also proved that it seemed no one cared that Hawaii was under imminent threat of destruction. Taking a look at Facebook also proved futile as everyone else that received this alert was just as confused as I was. Lastly, I used my phone to tap in to the KSSK radio feed (as we do not have an AM/FM radio in our house anymore) but I only found prerecorded content as well.
By this time, 10 minutes or so had passed and if we were going to get hit it would probably be in the next five minutes so what do you do? You think about your loved ones. You think about your hopes and regrets. You think about what’s important. Then you wait for news. Any news. After another 10 minutes I assumed either the missile had missed or it was a false alarm. A little later we did receive this message:
Then like many other residents, you feel relieved but you also feel angry that someone could have made this error! Whenever you see the words “THIS IS NOT A DRILL” in all caps you know it’s serious! You take it seriously. This drill/not a drill did show me how little prepared we are for such an occurrence. I really had no clue as to where to go or what to do. I have tons of bottled water, but other than that, I really don’t have much to live off of. Once the media picked up on it, it did hit our local paper and the USA Today as well as CNN, Fox and the other local news channels.
There are lots of fingers to be pointed and lots of blame to go around but in those five minutes of panic and uncertainty, the important things did make themselves clear: my family, my loved ones, my quality time. Those are the things that we are always too busy to prioritize but we must.
Thank God this was a false alarm. Thank God we live another day. Thank God he has provided us with family and friends that love us and care about us. As we remember this day and this scare, let us never forget to tell each other how much they mean to us and how much we love them. Thank you for putting up with my ramblings. I love you!