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Tragedy in Japan

Joan Crown Hodges, daughter of Mary Almond of Cobbs Creek, experienced first hand the tremors, and then the emotions involved in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated portions of Japan Friday.

Hodges, a teacher for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, was in her classroom at the time the major quake hit.

Hodges said her typical school day ends at 2:30 p.m. However, on Friday, she was in the middle of a parent conference right when the quake struck at 2:49 p.m.

"At first, it was a low rumble, and I said ‘earthquake,’" Hodges said. Her student and his younger sister were laughing, but soon the building (which is a steel structure and has a roller system underneath to keep from feeling the full impact of the quakes) was literally rocking back and forth, she said.

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, and Hodges said the ones the country normally experiences are usually little rumbles that last no longer than 30 seconds...

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