Flags fly at half staff on Tuesday near Trinity Church in Boston.
This is the way it feels in 2013 when a disaster, a tragedy, or an act of terrorism strikes: We learn immediately about what happened. We spend the day glued to the TV for updates, watching jumpy videos people made with their phones. The frustration of vague or contradictory or false early reports, the misinformation and conspiracy theories that seem to crop up immediately and remain stubbornly difficult to eradicate.
The rush for information: Who do we know who's been affected? Are any of our own family members, friends, loved ones in the vicinity of the event? Are they OK?
The world changed on Monday, again, and in a way that has become entirely too familiar. The bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed an 8-year-old boy and two others, injured hundreds and shook the nation.
For most people in Stevens Point, the connection to the events hundreds of miles away felt absolutely immediate. But for most - those without a direct, personal connection to the Massachusetts city - it was also a matter of watching and waiting for information to be sorted out from innumerable media sources, from police and federal sources and from the White House, where President Obama addressed the nation Monday night and again Tuesday morning.
As of Tuesday, there was frustratingly little information about who was behind the attacks. We don't know whether they were the act of a single, "lone wolf" terrorist or an organized group. We know the bombings were acts of terror and that the FBI is investigating them that way, but we don't know what, if any, political purpose they were intended for.
Today, tomorrow and in the weeks and months to come, we will absorb the aftermath of the event. That means waiting to learn more about who is responsible, dealing with increased security that is likely in many public places at least in the short term and finding ways to show support for the victims and all those who respond to dangerous situations.
The Boston Marathon is a nationally known event, the oldest and best-known and perhaps the best of the 26.2-mile races at which runners test the limits of human endurance and the incredible, even heroic feat of putting one foot in front of the next for hours on end.
It feels especially heroic today.