GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn - Guam has always been home for Thomas Paulino he jokes now.
“Minnesota is too cold,” he says, but for more than 25 years he lived in Minnesota. Paulino was a spanish teacher and principal in the Forest Lake School district. Now 80 Paulino and his family retired back to Guam in 1993. “Right now it is a difficult time here for the people of Guam.” Paulino says.
The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un said the country was exploring firing nuclear missiles near or at the U.S. Territory of Guam. After multiple threats President Trump proclaimed, North Korea would be “met with fire and fury, frankly power. The likes of which this world has never seen before.” The rhetoric between the two leaders has real world effects on the people living in Guam says Paulino.
"It is terrible. It is a terrible feeling," he says. "I was kind of waiting to see what was going to happen but nothing ever did happen.” He says his family, much like others on the island, purchased emergency supplies like extra water, flashlights and prepared for the potential of an attack. "We are worried, very worried, especially the older generation because of what they went through during the second World War."
The former Minnesotan was just 4 years old when the Japanese invaded Guam. He remembers being forced to work in the rice fields and thinking he and his family would be executed. "I remember we were slated to be executed but we never made it to the execution grounds. We never were because the Americans were coming fast in 1944."
Paulino told the Forest Lake Times that despite threats from North Korea he doesn’t know of anyone who has decided to leave the island. “I am hoping and praying for now. Praying things will be ok. I think they will.”