by Rya Backer
Independence Day offers Americans a long weekend, fireworks and summer fun — but it's important to remember what the holiday actually stands for: the freedom provided to us by generations of men and women who have fought for our rights.
Almost 70 percent of young Americans know someone fighting in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and the wars have become a huge factor in what shapes the story of this generation. More importantly, they've become a defining moment in the history of our nation. Unfortunately, media attention on the wars has waned in recent months — and we've decided to do our part in changing that.
It's in this spirit that MTV's Street Team '08 — 51 citizen journalists from every state and the District of Columbia — have compiled "Soldier Stories." These works introduce us to some of the nearly 1 million men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. These stories can be found at www.chooseorlose.com.
We've also published stories about the GI Bill and Ashwin Madia, an Iraq war vet who's running for Congress.
But don't just take our word for it. Two guys you might've heard of — named John McCain and Barack Obama, a.k.a. the Republican and Democrat presumptive presidential nominees, respectively — have filmed messages urging support for the troops and our efforts to give them the attention they deserve. Take a look at what they have to say, and be sure to let us know what you think.