It’s so easy to access family with our fingertips.
“It’s funny how many thousands of pictures we have now,” Gerard Aflague said, swiping through photos on his phone. “Here’s my two daughters. They’re actually on a paddleboard.”
Aflague showed pictures from a recent trip to his native Guam.
“I lived there for 30 plus years before I moved to the mainland,” Aflague said.
Family has been on Aflague’s mind lately, especially those still living on the U.S. island territory about 6,664 miles away.
“I’ve got first, second and third cousins that we constantly communicate with when we go back,” he said. “Us Guamanians that live here in the states, you know, we have a cause for concern for our family in Guam.”
The latest concern is North Korea’s claim of a detailed plan to strike near Guam using four ballistic rockets. The plan could be sent to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un within about a week.
“This North Korean threat has been an ongoing threat,” Aflague said.
Aflague remembers similar threats when he lived in Guam. North Korea has made statements in recent years about Anderson Air Force Base being within “striking range.”
“They were threats that had no substance,” Aflague said. “To have something actually happen would devastate our island home and that would be something that would be unconscionable, and I couldn’t even imagine not having Guam to call home in the future.”
A Guam Homeland Security spokeswoman said Thursday it would take a North Korean missile about 14 minutes to reach the island.
“We are Americans in a U.S. territory and we’re basically in the crosshairs of the activity that’s happening between countries,” Aflague said.
Aflague is hoping for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean threat.
“We want to be able to go back and visit our families in the future,” he said. “We want to be able to know and be comforted that our families are okay.”
Family in Guam has never felt so close and so far away.