TIME Person of The Year 2012: Why it Should Be America’s Veterans

Each year TIME selects a Person of the Year. This year’s selection should be America’s veterans because of their quiet yet steadfast support.

The 2012 TIME Person of The Year, selected by TIME’s editors, will be announced on December 13th. If the editor’s choice is identical to the online voting, then North Korean Kim Jong-un will win the award. His selection would mean that TIME overlooked America’s veterans for their influence on the nation and the world.

There are currently over 22 million veterans in the United States representing 7% of the population. The veteran demographic includes various races, ethnicities, and ages. In 2012, veterans worked in various positions including Congress. These veterans helped shape domestic as well as foreign policies.

Veterans were also part of the unemployed and brought to light some discriminatory views about hiring them. This reminded America that discrimination is not just about race or gender: it also includes views on military service. On the other hand, some veterans were business owners and lauded for their efforts in creating jobs. These people created jobs for Americans not just other veterans. As the nation struggled with high unemployment rates, veterans were looking for jobs as well as creating them.

Veterans were also voters and supported both parties in the 2012 elections. Army veteran, actor, and director Clint Eastwood provided his support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Another famous Army veteran, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, decided to support President Obama. Veteran voters, Republican and Democrat, helped determine national leadership this past year.

In 2012, veterans also gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation: their lives. Over 300 U.S. military personnel died supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Veterans also died by their own hands as suicide deaths became more prevalent than combat deaths. Those deaths are not as well known as the diplomatic security officers in Benghazi but are important to families and the nation.

As TIME’s editors choose a Person of The Year, they should not overlook America’s veterans. These people were in the news and often news makers. They helped shape the nation, for better or worse, and influenced events throughout the year. They also sacrificed time, limbs, and even their lives for their nation. They should be recognized for that.