As we get toward the end of the year, we are anticipating the announcement of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” — ok, maybe not everyone is anticipating, but I am.
This morning as I was driving over for my Saturday morning run (seven miles today), I was listening to Fox and Friends discuss the topic. It seems that there has been a Time Magazine online poll and the winner with 26% was, hmm, Miley Cyrus. She bested Ed Snowden and Senator Ted Cruz.
Now, the Time Magazine editorial board will still be making their selection, but I found the online poll results quite telling of today’s American culture. So as I was running this morning I thought about who would be my recommendation for “Person of the Year.” And running 7 miles gives you a good amount of time to consider many potential candidates.
In the end I came up with a tie: one present-day and one historic.
My present-day winner is Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban on her bus and survived. If there is an impeccable embodiment of courage, conviction, and character it is young Ms. Yousafzai.
Here we are in America in an online poll selecting a young woman lacking in character as “Person of the Year” when an example for all young women is right before our eyes. Malala came up short of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, hence why this award has lost any semblance of honor and distinction in my regard.
I recommend we all read her book, I am Malala. Here are a three of Malala’s memorable quotes:
“I don’t care if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education. And I am not afraid of anyone.”
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
“I don’t want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.”
I have two daughters and pray they possess the level of bravery and steadfast dedication as exemplified by Ms. Yousafzai. Does anyone in America truly believe that Miley Cyrus or even Sandra Fluke are in the same class as this exceptional young woman?
My other candidate for “Person of the Year” is someone from our history who made an incredible impact on the future of America. That person is none other than Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Commander of the 20th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg.
This year was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, a true turning point in the Civil War, and for our nation. It was Chamberlain’s heroic and courageous stand on day two at Gettysburg on Little Round Top against the pressing Confederate attack led by General John Bell Hood.
The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had seemingly won the first day of Gettysburg and sought to roll up the Union Army of the Potomac flank which ended with Chamberlain. If successful, there would be nothing standing in their way to turn south and march on Washington DC itself.
General Hood’s forces had been successful in fighting through the treacherous rock formations that would come to be known as “Devil’s Den.” Then they turned their sights tothe high ground occupied by Chamberlain and his understrength regiment.
On that hot July day, with his diminished force, Chamberlain held, but casualties mounted and ammunition ran out. Faced with the ultimate dilemma of combat command leadership, Chamberlain shouted the order which saved the day, “Bayonets!” Even though he was wounded in the leg, Chamberlain led the charge down Little Round Top which saved the day.
Chamberlain went on to lead his men through more engagements and was promoted to General. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor and was selected to be the honor regiment Commander at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Chamberlain also went onto become a multiple term Governor of Maine.
In this year of the remembrance of Gettysburg, (which our current president couldn’t seem to remember) I can’t think of anyone more symbolic of the American spirit than Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
So there you have it America, my co-winners of the “Person of the Year, 2013”– Malala Yousafzai and General, Governor and American hero Joshua L. Chamberlain.
Who would you nominate as your “Person of the Year?”