Make the Military Family TIME’S 2011 Person of the Year

Most of us know and love someone who is somehow related to a military family. This may take 10 minutes of your time and could help the military family be recognized.

OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A KINDLE: Share the letter – with enthusiasm! – on your blog or facebook page and encourage people to mail it in, and you’ll be entered to win the latest model Kindle. (One winner.) Used just once, it’s as close to brand-new as it can be without being in the original, unopened package, and it even comes with a leather case.

TO BE ENTERED TO WIN: Email likeitfortime@gmail.com with the link to the blog or facebook page where you encourage others to send their letter to TIME. Write “letter share” in the subject line. The winner will be announced on March 4th on Enlisted Spouse Radio.The letter to TIME Magazine is below. Revise at will and then copy, paste, print, sign, and put in the mail on Friday, March 4th.

MAIL YOUR LETTER TO: TIME Magazine Letters / Time & Life Building / Rockefeller Center / New York, NY 10020

THANK YOU. Your participation is both necessary and greatly appreciated.

Dear TIME Magazine Editor(s),

I’m writing this letter to ask you to consider the military family as your 2011 TIME Person of the Year. If you accept nominations from the public/your readers, please consider this an official nomination.

Military families will be the first to say they don’t want to be honored or praised, but I understand Person of the Year isn’t an honor; it’s a “recognition of somebody’s effect on the world,” as Richard Stengel has said.

I also understand Person of the Year is, as another TIME editor has said, “given to the person, group, or thing that has most influenced the culture or the news during the past year.”

Evidence of the military family’s impact on recent news and popular culture can be found in the efforts of Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to raise awareness of the military family, in Oprah Winfrey’s multiple shows honoring the military family, in the upcoming fifth season of Lifetime network’s “Army Wives,” and in the E! Entertainment channel special, “E!Investigates: Military Wives.” Any time the wars in the Middle East are in the news, so is the American military family.

Regarding the military family’s effect on the world, Rudy Giuliani was chosen for Person of the Year following the September 11 attacks because he “embodied what was really most important, what we learned about ourselves, which was that we could recover,” explained a TIME editor.

The military family embodies what is most important after a decade of war and multiple deployments: a resilient and unifying force even as the families grow weary of being separated – sometimes permanently – year after year, those years apart filled with agonizing anxiety and uncertainty about the future of their families. That resiliency speaks volumes about who we are.

When the American Soldier was chosen for 2003 Person of the Year, it wasn’t for making the news. It was, according to TIME, “[f]or uncommon skills and service, for the choices each one of them has made and the ones still ahead, for the challenge of defending not only our freedoms but those barely stirring half a world away.”

According to a February 2009 study conducted by Boston University’s Sloan Work and Family Research Network, “43.2% of active duty forces have one or more children.” Without a military family care plan—siblings, grandparents, spouses, or others to care for those children—nearly half of our deployed forces would be rendered useless.

The challenges the families of service members experience don’t include the direct threat of mortar rounds and IEDs, but they do include the 24-hour awareness that mortar rounds or IEDs could kill the person they love – their parent, their child, their best friend – any minute of any day, as well as the unique task of trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for children who have a revolving parent and a home environment that is in a perpetual state of flux.

I hope you’ll give this nomination the serious consideration it warrants.

Sincerely,

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