I was eleven. Sixth grade, new school. I liked my classes, but I was having trouble adjusting - surrounded by people I didn't know, always found it hard to make friends, alone in a crowd, etc. etc. - so when my geography teacher turned on the TV at the beginning of the class period, I had no one to turn to and whisper curiously with.
The TV was only used for morning announcements and Channel 1 - why was Mr. M--- turning it on? Was he showing a movie today? But no, he had it on the news. Was this for our current events journals? Had I - horror of horrors - forgotten an assignment due today?
No. No, I hadn't.
Our class was seated alphabetically in rows, starting with the desk nearest the door and working backwards, and with the tiny little TV was screwed into the wall above our teacher's desk opposite the door, I was one of the farthest away from the screen. I couldn't read any of the words from that distance. All I could see was the grey of smoke and skyscraper against the bright blue of the sky.
I'm glad, now, that Mr. M--- picked that channel. Their camera crews were on the side closest to the first explosion, so they didn't get a good angle on the second one. There were some stations that actually got the second impact on film, and I don't think I could have dealt with that.
As it was, I was still sitting in that class when the second plane hit, and I was still sitting in that class when the announcement went out from the vice-principal that students were to remain in their classrooms until the buses were ready, or their parents could pick them up.
I didn't really understand what was going on at the time, but I knew something bad had happened. I just didn't know what.