Since January, 2008 and through the primary season, the team of 51 MTV / Knight Street Team citizen journalists has been producing weekly local and national reports in the form of blog posts, video stories, photo journals and audio stories. Check out their stories at www.chooseorlose.com or via our mobile WAP site (m.streetteam08.com)(and via mobile subscriptions to MTV Mobile, Verizon Mobile Media, AT&T Mobile and Sprint Mobile).

As part of our overall Choose or Lose campaign, the strategy of the MTV/Knight Street Team has always been to have a team of local reporters – one in each state and DC – bring to light the election issues that affect young people in their state and that are not necessarily covered by the mainstream media, and using the media that young people are most familiar with.

And we’re excited to share that the Street Team is part of the “youth quake” phenomenon in 2008 where young people have demonstrated overwhelming interest in the election. Indeed, CIRCLE reports a record breaking turnout of 6.5 million 18-29 year-olds voted in the 2008 primaries.

Throughout the primaries, a number of issues have recurred with young people, whether it be gas prices, the environment, education or the war. Yet, one statistic has broken through, and it is that MTV Research recently reported that nearly 70% of 18-29 year-olds personally know someone who has fought in Iraq, a staggering number that uniquely defines this generation.

So we believed that it is of vital importance to hear the stories of our young soldiers returning home from war.

As more and more young veterans transition to civilian life, Americans must confront a new set of veterans’ issues. Because of their diversity in viewpoint, location, and background, the MTV/Knight Street team has a particular ability to uncover the vastness of young veterans’ issues. Young veterans are attempting to handle the scars of war, be they as visible as a missing limb or as hidden as post traumatic stress disorder.

So, on July 4 Independence Day, MTV2 will present a special Choose or Lose day-long “takeover” in which short and long-form programming will engage millions of young adult voters to honor – and elevate the issues – of the more than one million young men and women who have served on the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition to special video messages from Senators John McCain and Barack Obama to honor young veterans, we will learn of young veterans who now actively support and those who protest the war those who continue to honor the soldiers are still fighting no matter their position. Difficult questions are being raised – is the military keeping its recruitment promises college assistance? Does the military take post traumatic stress disorder concerns seriously? Each Street Team member finds a different angle through which to explore the many layers of what our young veterans face both here and abroad.

Throughout the day on Friday, several video reports from Street Team members featuring veterans’ stories will be aired and will be available on our online and mobile platforms highlighted above.

The spirit of July 4th – Independence Day – reminds us of the great sacrifices that were made for this country to prevail. We hope that the rich history which is remembered on that day inspires young people to take seriously their civic duty and honor those who continue to serve our country and sustain our freedom.

Please check out all of the Street Team Soldier Stories featured online through July 4 weekend.