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Recalling the hours after Japan's devastation

(Editor's Note:The following is an account of the recent earthquake that hit Japan and the tsunami that followed told from the point of view of JoshPray, a formerKeeseville resident living in Hawaii at the time.)

The massive earthquake that struck recently in Japan and ensuing tsunami affected not only the citizens and axis of the world, but also struck closely to my own trivial life. When a farm boy from the mountains of the North Country hears the words 'tsunami' and 'Japan' in the same sentence, they seem foreign and almost trifling. 'Ice Storm' sounds scary. 'Nor'Easter' is enough to send shivers up my spine. But those words do not send people running for the hills. They do not activate air-raid sirens. They do not destroy lives. I learned very quickly the troubles of the Pan-Pacific world through a first-hand experience with the warmer side of Mother Nature's fury.

It was late, around 9 p.m. HST, and I was finishing up my work in the garage of my sister's house on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. Just puttering around, sanding and sweeping, when I heard a voice from behind. It was friendly, but with a touch of alarm.

"Hey! Yo!"

I turned to see the owner of the voice. It was a marine, not much older than myself, dressed in desert fatigues with a phone to his ear. I went back to my work.

"Hey, man. Did you hear about the earthquake? In Japan?"

Naturally, that caught my attention.

"No. What happened."

"Huge earthquake over there. There was a tsunami watch that has been upgraded to a tsunami warning. Sirens are about to go off any minute."

Quickly I ran inside to warn my family and help gather the essentials for a quick getaway. My sister, mother, nephew and I would leave the shores of Windward Oahu and head toward the center of the island to my apartment in Mililani. There, we would be safe from even a 200-foot wave.

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