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US- North Korea tensions frighten Hiroshima survivor - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

US- North Korea tensions frighten Hiroshima survivor

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KANEOHE, Hawaii -

A Kaneohe woman is among a small group of Hawaii residents who know firsthand the devastation of a nuclear bomb. Mitsuko Heidtke lived through the bombing of Hiroshima. She is now watching closely while Hawaii prepares for a possible North Korea nuclear attack.

Very often, in the quiet moments of the day, 85 year old Mitsuko Heidtke thinks about a time long ago and a place far away. August 6, 1945- the day the US dropped an atmoic bomb on Hiroshima, and her life changed forever. "It was a really bright flash then big noise. Boom! I never heard such a noise," she recalls.

She was 12 years old, and on a train to a school on the outskirts of town. Had she left even ten minutes later, she would have died, because her house was near ground zero. Heidtke says this was her reaction: "We see the mushroom cloud and thought, 'We gotta go home.'"

The train stopped, and the kids jumped out and walked back to the city. They didn't know what happened, until they met some victims: "All burned - the skin all peeling, coming down like this," as she gestures to outreached arms with skin hanging down.

"They say, 'We want water, we want water.' But we don't have water," continues Heidtke.

She says the memory is still shocking. It was so traumatic, she says it felt like "you've walked right into hell. Maybe I'm dead."

Heidtke lost her mother that day, as did many of the other students. She often looks at these old photos and wonders what her life might have been like had her city never been bombed.

She and husband John have built a beautiful life in Hawaii with three children and six grandchildren, and she hopes nothing changes that.

Heidtke keeps track of the news on North Korea and Hawaii's efforts to prepare against a possible missile strike. "One bomb and all of Hawaii is going to be wiped out. I'd rather die than survive."

As for the state's newewly-activated Attack Warning Tone intended to warn Hawaii residents of an impending nuclear missile attack, Heidtke says "That's going to scare me. It don't feel good." The siren sounded statewide for the first time since the Cold War on Friday, December 1. However, she appreciates that the siren would let people prepare for a nuclear disaster - in the way she was never able to. 

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