Publisher's Letter

updated 02/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Somewhere in the vast Arabian desert, too far from home and too close to danger, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Luis Torres took a break to read one of the hundreds of copies of PEOPLE that we send every week to the troops of Operation Desert Storm. PEOPLE began publication in 1974, so the conflict in the Persian Gulf is our first major war. Torres seems scarcely older than PEOPLE. This is his first major war too.

While we at PEOPLE, like Americans everywhere, follow each day's news from the gulf, some have special reason to be concerned. Sarah Skolnik, a correspondent in our Washington, D.C., bureau, prays for her younger brother, Marine Lance Cpl, Joseph Skolnik, who has been in Saudi Arabia since August. "My family really doesn't sleep." says Sarah, who has been with PEOPLE since 1989. "We check in with each other every couple of hours—but we really don't say much."

Another staffer with a brother in the gulf is associate editor Kristin McMurran. In her work at the magazine. McMurran has been closely involved with a different war, one that has taken the lives of more than 100,000 Americans: the struggle against AIDS. For our July 30 cover article, she interviewed 24-year-old AIDS survivor Alison Gertz. And she shepherded this week's cover story (pages 84-96), an excerpt from Elizabeth Glaser's forthcoming book. In the Absence of Angels, which tells of the devastating impact of the disease on the family of director and former Starsky and Hutch star Paul Michael Glaser. Of Glaser's wife. Elizabeth, who is infected with the AIDS virus. McMurran says. "She conveys an inner core of strength that is impressive. There is much to learn from her courage."

In the midst of all the dangers that threaten us, we at PEOPLE think that such bravery, on battlefields of all kinds, should be celebrated.

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