I want to nominate TIME’s next person of the year, but are regular, everyday people who read the magazine afforded that opportunity?
My nomination would be the American Military, but TIME has already recognized The American Fighting-Man (1950) and The American Soldier (2003), and they’re not likely to do it again. So, I choose the American Military Family.
It’s not uncommon for TIME to name groups as Person of the Year. In 1960, it was U.S. Scientists. In 1966, it was 25 And Under. 1969: Middle Americans. 1975: American Women. 1993: The Peacemakers. 2002: The Whistleblowers. 2006: You.
But since 1927, through all of the wars and conflicts our country has seen, not once has the Military Family – often touted as the ‘backbone’ of the soldier and the country (during wartime) – been recognized by TIME. These are families that undergo repeated periods of a year or more of anything from mild anxiety to absolute anguish, from “See you next year” to “I hope I see you again someday,” from “Goodbye for now” to “Goodbye forever.” Some children don’t meet their deployed parent until they’re a year old. Others have barely gotten to know who their father or mother is in the brief time they’ve shared between multiple deployments.
The military family (the spouse, the lover, the child, the father, the mother – big or small, married or not) has no idea how it will receive the loved one at the end of a deployment. Unscathed? Missing an arm? Missing two legs? Brain damaged? Challenged by PTSD? Until the families see their loved ones get off that plane from Iraq or Afghanistan, all they can do is hope. Hope nothing bad happens today, hope they come home safe and whole. Hope the last time they saw them wasn’t the last time they’ll ever see them.
This generation’s military has been deploying for ten years to the Middle East. Their families have been suffering their own unimaginable war experiences for just as long. It’s time, TIME.
[Please share this if you agree. I’d like to see if we can make this happen. You’re also invited to join the facebook community effort.]