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Friday, March 04, 2011

Your mission: make the military family TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year.

UPDATE: Today's the day to write YOUR letter. Thank you~

Military family supporters nationwide to mail letters to TIME Magazine on March 4, 2011

In Blog/Article on February 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

“‘Like’ it for TIME” (LIFT) has announced March 4, 2011 as “Mail-your-letter-to-TIME-day” in an appeal to the magazine’s editors to consider the military family as its 2011 Person of the Year. Several “fans” of the facebook page have committed to spreading the word on their personal blog sites, and teachers are planning to have their classes write letters to the magazine.

LIFT will post a letter along with the mailing address to TIME Magazine at the LIFT website——on February 28, making the process as painless as possible for participants; all they have to do is print, sign, and mail the letter.

The goal is to overwhelm TIME Magazine with letters from across the country. The letters will introduce the editors to the idea, and with luck, they’ll get so many of them it will attract media attention.

Media attention is key to the effort. If the military family community and its supporters make enough of an impact to be addressed by the media, people will have to take an interest.

And it’s this interest that will strengthen the combined efforts of Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to garner support and recognition for military families.

That it’s no easy task to get thousands of people to mail letters is not lost on LIFT. It’s a leap of faith. A number of people have already expressed their letter-mailing intent, but the hope is that hundreds (if not thousands) more will do this small, simple thing for something so important.

An email campaign was considered, but emails are too easy to ignore and delete. A deluge of actual letters people took the time to fold, tuck inside an envelope, stamp, and put in the mail is a bit harder to disregard. It also speaks to a greater level of commitment on the part of the supporters.

Please click here to “like” the “‘Like it for TIME” Facebook page and support the effort to make the military family TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year.

The Like It For TIME site is here.

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.

  • If you think you'll forget to mail the letter on Friday and you'd rather mail it today because this is when you'll remember, mail away.

  • If you want your letter to the editor to be considered for publication in TIME Magazine, be sure to include your full name, address, and phone number in the letter.

  • 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 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.

  • 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. Have fun, and good luck to all of us!

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.


Let's get this done. Thank you.

[Bratnote: TIME magazine is way behind me, of course, since I named our military and 9/11 families my Heroes of the Year on December 30, 2009. You can find that here. Take the time to go meet some amazing families.]