Faces of our armed forces an inspiration
It was a simple idea in the beginning. Why not do something to recognize the local people who are serving in our nation's armed forces around the world?
The result was a special section in The Sun called "Answering Freedom's Call," and the loved ones of some 75 members of the armed forces helped us produce the section by sending in photos and information.
There are undoubtedly more who missed our appeal for contributions. We plan to put the section here on our Web site and will be accepting contributions for the online edition from those who did not get into the newspaper section. Just e-mail a photo and the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contributions initially came to me, and I was awed by the stories that emerged from the letters and e-mails we received. It soon became obvious we have a lot of people from our community who are committed to serving their nation - and a lot of people who love them and are proud of them.
The section is a testament to the scope of the all-volunteer armed forces which serve our nation. You will see a wide range of faces and ages in the section. You will also see both men and women because today's military cannot function without members of both sexes.
Undoubtedly, many of these volunteers entered the military in search of opportunity. For today's young people, the military provides training that they can translate into civilian careers, if they do not choose a career in the service.
Perhaps some of them did not consider the possibility they would end up serving in an actual war, but they have stepped up to do their duty nevertheless.
Without a doubt, many of the volunteers are also patriotic and have a true desire to serve their nation. That fact was reflected in some of the letters.
America has a proud tradition of citizen soldiers, re-enforced by a cadre of professional career soldiers. It was farmers and blacksmiths and tradesmen who first answered the call to free our nation from British rule.
Ever since then, Americans have responded to the call to defend the nation and the rights that we cherish. They have served their nation well and then returned to their day-to-day lives.
Some of those in the section are the quintessential citizen solders - members of the Reserve or National Guard who respond to emergencies, serve their nation and return to civilian life. In fact, today's military relies heavily on these citizen forces so that it is not necessary to maintain a large standing military.
Many readers will probably be inspired, as we were, while looking at the faces of these people serving our nation.
They are performing many tasks in our armed forces, all of them worthwhile and necessary. But however different the tasks may be, the goal is the same - to insure that America will always be protected from its enemies.
We salute them and thank their loved ones for supporting them as they do their duty.
TERRY ROSS is editor of The Sun.