EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A group of Oklahomans who witnessed the Israel-Hamas War firsthand has returned home.
The 32 residents were on a two-week church trip to Israel to see the Holy Land when fighting broke out.
For Tina Brown, it was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime.
“We got to go to so many places and it was so, so glorious. It was just amazing,” said Brown. “We were standing in front of the Temple Mount when everything broke out.”
Brown said the skies in the distance went from blue to gray and smoke started billowing above them. The war had started in front of her eyes.
“We didn’t realize what was happening, but all of a sudden, there were rockets going above our heads,” said Brown. “It was like we were in this snow globe of protection, and they were just going off all over our heads.”
She said she and the rest of the group raced back to their hotel and found safety inside a bunker. There were sirens sounding all around them and the streets were deserted as families fled to safety.
“Not too many people were out,” said Brown. “You would see a lot of soldiers all around, so I felt very secure there.”
Four days later, under the cover of darkness, the group was able to make it to the Tel-Aviv airport to board a plane back home.
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“You always question, you know, are we going to make it out?” said Brown. “You just never know what life is going to bring you. But once we were a few hours into the flight, then I knew, I’m going to make it home.”
Brown said she relied on her faith to keep her calm and safe during the days they were surrounded by the war.
She also said, despite what happened, she would go back again.