The essay was introduced by the following paragraph:
This summer, the photographer Platon took pictures of hundreds of men and women who volunteered to serve in the military and were sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. He followed them on their journey through training and deployment, after demobilization and in hospitals, to compile a portrait of the dedication of the armed services today. Sergeant Tim Johannsen, who lost both legs when he drove over an I.E.D. on his second tour of duty in Iraq, made a point of buying an Army T-shirt to wear in his photograph. Of his sacrifice, he said, “It’s just part of the job. You know what you signed up for.” Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, a military reporter who has become a vocal opponent of the Iraq war, says that he and others like him “take our activism as a continuation of our oath of service.” Like many who enlist, Johannsen and Chiroux come from military families. Sergeant John McKay, a marine whose uncle and grandfather were marines, and whose three-year-old son posed in uniform at the wedding of a cousin, also a marine, said, “He’s just waiting till he’s eighteen.” He went on, “I’m scared for him, but if he wants to do it I’ll support him.”View the photos with their captions at PORTFOLIO BY PLATON: SERVICE.