It won’t be long before we read the rumblings about who will be named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. The decision comes down to the man, woman or idea that has most influenced events in the preceding year “for better or worse.”
Clearly that’s an apt caveat when one realizes the award list includes the likes of Adolph Hitler, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Vladimir Putin, and Nikita Khrushchev; and doesn’t it somewhat surprise you that recipients as far back as 1966 and 1975 were the 25-and-unders and American women, respectively, both segments of society that dominate our news today?
They very well may qualify as repeat recipients, as did Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George H.W Bush and Barack Obama. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been the only “threepeat” to date.
Regardless of how popular a Time Person of the Year may be, it is a safe bet that every single one has had detractors.
Even “America’s Fighting Man” (1950) and “American Soldier” (2003) might not have been endorsed by anti-war groups. It’s somewhat ironic that there were people who actively protested the 2011 recipient, “The Protester.”
All this leads me to suggest that Time think no further about the 2018 recipient. Can there be any worthier, less controversial recipient than “The Firefighter”? Can any of us come close to imagining the horrors of the conditions the men and women fighting those California fires endure?
Are there any better examples of valor, selflessness or purposeful commitment? In a time when we are weary of incivility, name-calling, tawdry behavior, dishonesty and so much else that makes hopefulness hard to come by, I believe that honoring firefighters would send a powerful message to combat what poet Robert Burns called “man’s inhumanity to man.” And for us, we would have every reason to claim that it honored our own Charleston Nine as well.
Fort Sumter Drive