Long-time guidance counselor Dan Lucier looks at pictures of past graduating classes at Superior High School, pointing out the teenagers who joined the military.

There are usually one or two in each class of about 30 students who graduate from Superior, a town of 900 residents in the forested northern Rockies.

The class of 2003, which graduated less than two years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, immediately sent three kids to the U.S. Army. It was so many that Mineral County, of which Superior is county seat, briefly had the distinction of producing the highest number of Army recruits per capita in the nation. The three form a tiny but unique microcosm of small town Americans who joined the service for patriotic reasons after 9/11.