Families measure time in milestones, so three years to the parents of Austin Tice amount to two weddings, three graduations, four overseas trips, and too many birthdays and anniversaries to tally.
And that’s still just a fraction of all that Tice, a former Marine and law student who became a freelance journalist, has missed since he was abducted from the Syrian battlefield in August 2012 while covering the conflict for McClatchy, the Washington Post and other news outlets. On Tuesday he turned 34, his third birthday in captivity.
“When it was a month, three months, six months, we thought, ‘We can catch him up.’ But three years? It’s impossible,” said Tice’s father, Marc Tice. “The landscape of his life here has completely changed. What he will be coming back to is, in some ways, unrecognizable from the life that he left when he went to Syria.”