On Monday, September 10, 2001 I was a shift lieutenant at the Detention Center in Natchitoches, LA. I supervised a Sergeant and ten Correctional Officers. All the corrections shifts were on a standard law enforcement rotation, and we were working the night shift. As I recall, it was a standard shift, nothing notable to talk about. It was a Monday, after all. Not a payday weekend, just another night of care, custody and control of roughly 250 adult offenders. I was relieved shortly before 5:00 a.m. and went home.
When I got home, my kids were getting ready for their day. One in high school, one an adult who had come home just a few weeks before from the Nashville Auto Diesel College. He had his first job out of school in a dealership and was headed out to work. I fried a couple of eggs, ate, and fell into bed.
At about 8:00 that morning, a friend of Milady's (she and I had been dating since January) called me, jarring me out of sleep. "Wake up, Mr. Dennis! The US is under attack."
"Bullshit, Chris. I'm trying to sleep." I hung the phone up and rolled over.
About five minutes later, it rang again. "No kidding, Mr. Dennis. We're under attack. Get up and turn on the TV."
I rolled out of bed, went into the living room and flipped on the TV. Sure enough, the first tower was burning. I watched for a few minutes then walked into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. There was lots of speculation about whether it was an accident, what kind of plane it was, the newsies were covering the folks leaving the building, the emergency response,
As I got the coffee going, I walked back in to the living room in time to see the second plane go in. I remember saying aloud, to no one in the house, "That was no fucking accident."
I lived in the country, way out in the country. On a clear morning, I could see the contrails of several routine scheduled flights. I knew what time the Houston to Atlanta morning run went past, I knew what the little jet from Baton Rouge to Shreveport looked like, I had four or five routes pegged, morning and late afternoon, because they went over the house.
I spent the rest of the day, lounging on the couch, watching the news. Soaking it in like a sponge. I had to work that evening, so I napped when I could, and at 4:00 I got up, took a shower, and pulled on my boots. When I walked out to the truck, the strangest thing was that there were no contrails in the air.
Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?