It is beyond our comprehension.
This isn't supposed to happen in America. We are accustomed to seeing terrorist attacks around the world, but that is from the safe distance of news video and the detatchment of foreign perception.
This isn't supposed to happen in America.
It hasn't happened, to this magnitude, on our soil, not since Pearl Harbor.
It would be easier to understand if it were a war. In war, there is some territorial or political reason for carnage, something which we can comprehend and combat in return. There is no explanation for this, and little protection against it happening again.
The innocent victims of this cowardly attack had no idea they were in danger, and we all have no idea where the next strike is coming from. They took Lord-knows-how-many-lives, but they also took our national innocence. We may never feel quite so safe again.
This isn't supposed to happen in America. Here, in Iowa's heartland, our common workday was shattered by the video of the World Trade Center collapsing, the Pentagon in flames, and reports coming in from Pennsylvania and Maryland. It was surreal - did we tune into some sick horror movie by mistake? But we quickly found that we couldn't change the channel and make this go away. Even as we watched it; we could scarcely believe.
Because it isn't supposed to happen in America.
Our local schoolchildren struggle with the news. Our residents worry for friends and relatives. Air travel plans are grounded, events canceled. The heartbreak grips us all - the image of people leaping 100 stories to their death from burning towers is singed into our consciousness permanently.
What to do now? Pray.
We are under attack, as surely as if a war had been declared. It is a war for sanity, a war against madmen who are willing to expend any amount of innocent lives for their own political, psychotic reasons.
We will have to pull together more than we have in this country since the World War II generation. We will have to help when the opportunities present themselves.
And all we can do now is pray.
Pray for all those who were slaughtered. Pray for all those who have risked their lives to try to rescue victims. And pray for us all, for what the world has come to.
Pray that this isn't to ever happen in America, not ever again.