I’d just slid back under my covers to read after a morning chat with Anthony and our dog when an an alert hit my phone.
BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
At the same moment, Anthony’s voice boomed from the living room, “Delisa!!” We met in the hallway, both staring at our phones.
We don’t have “normal” TV, so Anthony ran to the garage to listen to the car radio. Three stations blared the Emergency Warning System blast. He rushed back in and our minds and hands went into action.
I immediately thought about the young women hiking a mountain today. I’d planned to go with them but started feeling sick last night, so pulled out. My friend on the mountain had received the alert, too, and they were deciding what to do.
Our family group text exploded. My brothers looked for news sources we couldn’t find. My text reached mom and sisters while they celebrated our sister’s baby shower. They said they said a prayer for us. That felt comforting.
Anthony grabbed 72 hour kits and other essentials. I jumped in for a quick shower, because if I didn’t die I wanted an extra day of freshness while living confined in our bathroom without utilities while the radioactive fallout dissipated. Afterwards, I filled up the tub with water.
No Imminent Missile Attack sirens, No Info?
Recently, Hawaii reinstated its Cold War missile attack sirens. The monthly siren drill bellows out after the tsunami warning in a creepy, chilling, blaring warning. Confused that we didn’t hear the sirens, we kept checking confirmation of an attack.
In this information age, why wasn’t there any information?
Anthony’s employees started calling him for reassurance.
Twitter filled with Hawaii government leaders responding that we all experienced a false alarm, a false alarm affecting over a million residents and who knows how many visitors on island right now.
We’d been so blessed to be together this morning. I worried about families that weren’t and how stressful that would be. We started seeing social media videos of people’s desperation to get home to their families, running red lights and stop signs and driving 100 mph.
We saw videos of distressed people on buses sitting under overpasses and hunkered down in highway tunnels. We even saw video of a father lowering his daughter into a manhole.
The info? Apparently two people sitting next to each other are on the ready. One hits the phone/TV alert system and the other other hits the siren system. The phone/TV alert system someone hit the wrong button during an internal test and sent an entire state into panic mode.
What Now?After the all clear an uneasy calm seems to remain for many. People are still angry on social media. We just watched a Live broadcast where the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Mr. Miyagi and Governor Ige explained what happened.
Anthony and I learned that when the missile siren goes off, we only have 12-13 minutes, not 15-20.
If Ye Are Prepared…
A couple of years ago, we lived across from the ocean during a tsunami warning. We had several hours to prepare, but I felt the first real environmental situational I could remember as an adult. We gathered up our essentials and waited it out with a wonderful family higher on a hill.
Everything turned out OK, but I realized that I’d emotionally prepared to die. There really isn’t a lot of options to run from a massive tsunami when your house is at sea level and backs up to a huge mountain and your escape route is a one-lane road taking you primarily to other sea level options.
I faced death that night, learned to let go, and ultimately found peace.
I contemplated death again today and discovered I’d found even more immediate peace. Other than worry for others’ happiness and safety, I did not feel stress or panic at all. I felt a quiet resolution. We live pretty close to Pearl Harbor. Military friends kayak the short distance across the bay from here for their commute to the base. If a huge missile hit, I felt confident we’d be impacted by either death or fall out.
I felt peace—the peace the Gospel brings, the peace that comes when you’ve learned to repent frequently and you just keep trying your best, the peace from knowing this life is not the end.
If we survived, we had what we needed. If we perished, I felt happy to be “taken home to that God who gave them life.”