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Honolulu, Hawaii: Ballistic Missile Mistake

I’m writing this morning from the 27th floor, ocean front balcony of our condo for the week in Hawaii. I’m drinking tea and watching the sunrise in my jammies; this is the most perfect morning.

It’s quiet and peaceful. All I hear are the waves crashing and my acrylic nails clicking on my keyboard.

I’m so happy to be here.

You hear about tragedies all the time, unfortunately, and always say, “Wow, I can’t even imagine. I don’t know what I would do if I had been there.”

That’s the thing though; you don’t really think it’ll ever happen to you. You don’t want it to happen to anyone else either, but you assume you’ll never be in a situation like that.

Well, as most of you probably know, on Saturday, we all in Hawaii received a notice of a ballistic missile threat.

That morning my family got up early and caught a taxi that took us about three miles down the way to the bottom of Diamond Head.

We were all very excited and had been looking forward to this since we arrived.

Each of us paid our $1 entry fee, and we began the trek.

This place is beautiful.

We were about ¾ the way to the top of the volcano, when we got the alert.

There were tons of people around and everyone’s phones began alarming at once. We read the notice to see this:

Everyone began looking around and asking questions that no one had answers to, but nobody really seemed sure of what to do.

How could you in that moment?

We walked a few steps further and stopped at an outlook, where more people were gathered.

A man who seemed to be alone was looking down at his phone directly in front of me. He looked up at me with the most fearful expression I’ve ever seen and said, “North Korea launched a missile at us two minutes ago.”

Everyone was silent.

The man darted past me and I assume back down the trail, although I can’t say for sure. I was so confused and shocked, was this really happening?

I’m starring out at this beautiful island, but is this it?

I still had a feeling that we were going to be okay. I was looking around to see where the missile was coming from and thought I was going to watch this beautiful sight explode into chaos, but I still assumed we would all be alright.

Which obviously isn’t very logical, but for whatever reason this is what was going through my head at the time.

I was in denial I suppose.

It was odd actually nobody seemed to panic the way you would think.

Some people scurried down the trail to seek shelter, but in all reality there was no place for any of us to go.

We were all more than halfway up the side of a volcano. There was no time to go anywhere or do anything.

There was talk about a bunker that existed somewhere on the trail; however, nobody knew where it was or how to get there.

My dad thought it was fake. He actually compared it to a Cyclone Weather Alert in Jack Trice, haha

My sister texted her friends letting them know what was going on and that she Loved them.

My mom took photos of the view, while it lasted.

I texted Naz about what was going on and he called me immediately in panic.

He said it was all over Twitter and he was out to eat with his teammates who were all researching trying to get more info for us.

He asked what we were doing for shelter knowing that we were nearly atop a volcano and I told him we were photographing the view. I told him there really wasn’t any place for us to go.

Everyone was internally panicking, but remained very strangely calm on the outside.

I think we were all still in disbelief.

We said I Love you and Naz went on to check the news and try to find more information for us.

My family decided we would just finish the climb so that if this were really it, at least we got to see the view from the top.

About 15 minutes later a man announced that his friend in the military told him it was a mistake.

While this was comforting to hear, it was still hard to know what was really going on. How were we supposed to determine what was true?

It took 38 minutes for us to receive the alert that officially announced the mistake.

That’s a long time to think about your world ending.

My sister and I spent half an hour searching the sky for the incoming missile, and trying to determine which way North Korea was from where we were standing.

It’s interesting to hear the many different reactions that erupted across the island when the message was sent.

I still wonder what it would’ve been like in different situations.

We’ve talked to many others around us since then about their experiences.

One lady said she was lying by her resort’s pool and called the front desk to ask what to do, and the woman on the other end of the phone hadn’t a clue either.

The captain of our boat yesterday said they were just leaving the dock when the alert went out, and he cranked the boat to full speed and took off to get as far from the island as possible.

Anyways, my family finished the climb, took lots of photos, and headed back to the bottom.

We walked back to our resort and stopped at a farmers market that we stumbled upon on our way.

We tried homemade salsas, spicy pickles, fresh squeezed lemonade, cakes, fruit, hummus, and many other home made goodies.

After returning to the resort, we celebrated our survival with Mai Tais on the beach.

What a mind-altering experience that was.

We hear about the talk of nuclear threats quite often, unfortunately. In fact, we talk about it so casually it’s strange really, but the reality of that situation is petrifying.

The fact that it could have been real, just as easily as it could have been a mistake is so scary.

Anyways, today I’m thankful to be alive, to be with my family, and for all the greatness this world provides aside the negativity.

Let’s all focus on positivity today and be grateful for what we have, as it could all disappear in the blink of an eye.

I certainly got a glimpse of this, that I hope none of you ever do.

Hug your friends, call your family, kiss your significant other, do something nice for a stranger.

Whatever you feel, do something good today.

-AP



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Comments 4

  1. Yikes! Terrifying. I didn’t realize you were there already!!
    Our nanny is there too I was worried sick!
    Can’t even imagine.

  2. Wow, how scary for all of you! ……and then to wait so long for the all clear and that it was a mistake. And not only that, but the fact that nobody was prepared in the event that there was a nuclear attack.. Nobody new what to do or where to go for shelter. Unbelievable. So happy for you and your family that you are safe and thank God for that also. Take care and have a wonderful vacation. More pictures please, it is so gorgeous in Hawaii. My daughter and son-in-law got married on the island of Kauii.. I’m not sure I spelled that right. But, an awesome wedding on the beach. .

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