May 27, 2013
When the terrorists struck on 9/11, Barrett Austin was in Mrs. Spearman’s second-grade class here. Weeks later, he’d wear a Ninja costume with a red headband for Halloween.
Tristan Wade was a middle-school practical joker with an endearing crooked smile who told everyone he wanted to be in the Army like his dad, a military policeman stationed near Tacoma, Wash.
Zack Shannon was playing Army in a cul-de-sac where his family lived in Florida. He’d break his ankle later that fifth-grade year on a neighbor’s trampoline across the street.
[...] All three children — Barrett, 8, Tristan, 11, and Zack, 9 — would reach manhood as fighting churned on. Barrett’s desire to challenge himself, Tristan’s drive for excitement and Zack’s love of all things military would draw each on separate paths toward war.