Here's what the newspaper's executive editor, Vickie Kilgore, writes in the paper today about this striking page one salute:
Today's front page is a dramatic departure for The Olympian.
A Stryker brigade based at Fort Lewis, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, has returned home from a 15-month deployment in Iraq. The 48 brigade members pictured on the front page are not among them. The Olympian chose to dedicate today's front page as a small but dramatic way to honor their service. It is not intended as an editorial statement on the war. Rather, it is the biggest of local stories. Nonetheless, we recognize that, whether you support or oppose our country's military presence in Iraq, this front page display will generate strong feelings.
But today, as brigade members remember their dead comrades in a special ceremony at Fort Lewis, we felt it was important to show our readers the faces of those who did not return. We also plan to share with you the jubilation of the official welcome home ceremonies for the brigade later this week. And we will spotlight some of the many acts of bravery of those who served. This weekend we will report on what's next for many of these individuals as they rebuild their stateside lives.
We assembled this front page with careful deliberation. Our intent is to be respectful but knowing, without doubt, that this lineup of faces conveys the effect of the war in a way words cannot.
We hope that you will look at the page, read the profiles of these men and reflect on their sacrifice.
I welcome your feedback.
Vickie Kilgore is executive editor of The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-754-4223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.