What a horrible, inconceivable thing. This morning, at about 8:46 am EDT and 9:04 EDT, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. It’s almost entirely certain that both crashes were intentional and undoubtedly coordinated. The buildings—both towers—now have gaping holes in them and are billowing smoke.

It really fills me with deep dread and sorrow that something like this can happen in our world.

I just happened to turn on the television before getting ready for work, and saw this. President Bush just made a brief statement, in part: “Terrorism against our nation will not stand.”

* * *

9:44-10:04 am EDT: Reports are pouring in, via CBS News on television: There was an explosion at the Pentagon in Washington, DC—either a bomb or a helicopter exploded in a heliport, or a plane crashed there as well. No confirmation. The White House, Pentagon, Treasury, and Capitol, in DC, have been evacuated. A Palestinian group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the plane crash, met with some doubt when reported. All airports, tunnels and bridges in the New York City area have been closed. Two planes were hijacked—one out of Boston—one was American Airlines, one was United. No word on which one (if either) crashed into the World Trade Center. The FAA has grounded all aircraft nationwide.

These incidents look like war.

* * *

5:51-6:04 pm CDT, my time: The immediate terror is over, but the aftermath has just begun. Most of the early reports were pretty accurate.

Of course, since I last posted: Both towers of the World Trade Center have collapsed, as has another part of the building. It’s gone. Destroyed forever. There were four commercial jets successfully hijacked, two of which plowed into the World Trade Center, one of which indeed hit the Pentagon, and one which crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. Explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan are not linked to the attacks, as might be suspected. There are still people trapped, and clouds of smoke, in New York City.

Who knows when we’ll know just how many people were killed, how many people were injured, how much damage was done. The trickle of names of people killed has just started: Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, was on a plane that was hijacked, and reported to her husband via cell phone (before presumably dying in the crash) that it was hijacked by men with “box-cutters” and circled before hitting its target (via ABC News, on television). What could be more tragic?

Jason Kottke and Camworld have lists of weblogs based in New York City that are covering the horror. I haven’t bothered with links to news stories because, well, it’s pretty much everywhere on the web.

I pray for everyone involved. I am so saddened. These attacks make everything else seem incredibly insignificant. The course of human life on this planet has changed because of the machinations of the worst of us—the execution of their evil plans, and the manifestation of our worst fears.

* * *

Personally, I don’t know anyone who lives in Manhattan. My mom and step-dad, however, are in Brazil at the moment, having flown there Sunday 9/9/01 and arrived there Monday morning 9/10/01. (It’s my mom’s first time out of the country.) Thank God they didn’t leave two days later. I haven’t talked to them yet, but it seems they are checked into their hotel (since the front desk there, when I called, knew who they were, but said they were out). I’m sure they’ll be fine. The only worries I have for them are that they won’t enjoy their visit as much as they would have under better circumstances and the off-chance that, for some reason, they won’t be able to fly back… but I assume they will.

I’ll be giving blood tomorrow.

6:20 pm CDT: Just announced on ABC News: Anyone with information on these crimes should visit www.ifccfbi.gov. Family or friends of victims should call 1-800-331-0075.