Among the many blessings we Americans can be grateful for this holiday season, count this one: The U.S. Army and Navy announced the other day that this year was their safest on record.

Most of the fatalities among soldiers stem from private automobile accidents. Injuries suffered in the line of duty in both branches of service are down, due in part, according to spokesmen, to improved safety design of military hardware and improved training of personnel.It's an obvious irony that this reassuring news should come just as our military prepares to embark on what may be its most hazardous mission in a generation. Soon events may make the numbers from last year seem insignificant. But even today they serve to remind us of our continuing debt to the men and women who have chosen to serve their country in uniform, and of our obligation to remember them in our prayers as we begin a new year.