Another average cold Saturday afternoon in Archbold was another average beautiful morning in Hawaii when cell phones across the island state popped on with an unthinkable text message.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
In the few minutes after receiving the message, people across the Pacific paradise began to wonder what to do with what they could rightfully believe were the last few minutes of their lives.
Their worst fears are certainly reasonable. Tensions between the United States and new nuclear power North Korea have been high. The North Koreans have proven Hawaii is within range of their missiles. North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un has said he has the launch button on his desk.
It is estimated that it takes about 12 to 20 minutes from the time a missile is launched in North Korea until a mushroom cloud rises over Honolulu. How would you react if your phone suddenly told you that you would be consumed by an atomic fireball in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered?
Try desperately to find shelter? Gather your family around you? Or simply sit in the middle of the floor and pray, waiting for the flash?
The text message was sent in error. Hawaii, and the nation, could go back to their daily routine.
Hawaiians can be forgiven if they remain on edge. After all, 76 years ago another message with the words, “This is no drill,” went out from Hawaii.
It was the radiogram announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. For those who have forgotten, there’s a battleship on the bottom of the harbor with the bones of 1,100 men inside to remind them.
Pray Hawaiians never– ever– receive the “not a drill” message again.