GREENSBORO, N.C. - Guam is thousands of miles away from North Carolina, with a 14-hour time difference. But to one Triad family, the North Korean threat hits very close to home.
Brian Cruz's parents were born and raised on the island of Guam. Half of his family still lives on the island. He and his family say the current political climate makes them uneasy. People living on the small U.S. territory they've been in a tense position before.
Guam is separated by vast ocean and many times zones – just a very small dot on the map.
“It’s in the shape of a lima bean, it's only 11 miles wide and 44 miles long,” said Cruz.
It takes a lot of planning to just make a phone call to family living on Guam because of the time difference. But the Cruz family feels the need to check in.
“I have 54 first cousins and probably half of them still live in Guam,” he said.
Cruz is concerned about them, because of the threat coming directly from North Korea. The communist country says it's finalizing plans to launch missiles near Guam sometime in August.
“Guam is called the tip of the spear when it comes to the U.S. military forces, and also our motto - in Guam is where America's day begins, so if anything is going to happen it's going to happen first in Guam,” explained Cruz.
On the other end of the line is Patrice Hara, his cousin, who has lived there most of her life.
She says the people there are aware of what's going on - but are staying calm, because this isn't the first time.
“If you were to look back at the history of Guam, we've been in the middle of this pretty much for years and years and years,” Hara said, “You know, North Korea has posed these threats before, and if it wasn't North Korea it was someone else.”
She explains overall, people living on the island are very calm and vigilant, but they are not strangers to what is going on in the world – and how they are positioned on the map.
In Greensboro, the Cruz family says, it's still a threat that feels too close to home - from so far away.