(CNN)Brian and Christianna Poe of Boston were celebrating their fourth anniversary on St. Maarten when Hurricane Irma hit and trapped them on the Caribbean island.
American couple get emotional recalling St. Maarten devastation
The couple teared up Tuesday morning on CNN's "New Day" as they described the devastation and suffering they witnessed before being airlifted from the Dutch-administered half of the island.
"You can't really prepare anybody for something that strong," Brian Poe told anchor Chris Cuomo. "We could never ask for anybody stronger than the crew that helped us get through."
Irma ravaged the island when it hit Wednesday as a catastrophic Category 5 storm, the most powerful hurricane.
"You couldn't beat the wind. You couldn't beat the insulation blowing out the walls, the roofs coming off, the glass breaking. We just held on tight with a pillow and held each other," Poe said.
"We were praying for the whole time," his wife said.
The United States evacuated about 1,200 Americans from St. Maarten between Friday and Sunday afternoon, the State Department said.
Christianna Poe choked up as she recalled leaving the hotel to go to the airport and "seeing the whole devastation." She put her head down when she remembered stories of homes being destroyed and other losses from children at a local shelter.
Cuomo suggested the couple share their story with family and friends back home.
"Our storm is over, but the storm for even people in Texas and Florida and St. Maarten, they've got a long way to get home," Brian Poe said.
"We're lucky to be home, and we need to make sure that no one forgets and everyone can chip in. ... It's just very important that no one changes the channel and forgets what happened down there."
CNN has compiled a list of resources for those wanting to help the victims of Hurricane Irma.