According to The Hill, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld turned down a request by Time magazine to receive their “Person of the Year” high honor. Instead, he suggested that the magazine give it to the American soldier. They took his advice.
Rumsfeld told guests at a holiday party that in this year of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military deserved the honor more than he did, which is why Army Sgts. Marquette Whiteside and Ronald Buxton and Spc. Billie Grimes turned up on Time’s Dec. 29 cover.
Time Managing Editor James Kelly appears to confirm Rumseld’s self-effacing act, if only obliquely, in an editor’s note recounting that when he and several other editors “met with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in November to talk about the war, [the Defense Secretary] made the pitch, unsolicited by us, that the Person of the Year should be the American soldier. (Or as he put it, the American volunteer.)”
This development should leave no doubt in the minds of Rumsfeld’s detractors just how much he appreciates our military; to forego personal praise for a chance to bestow it upon others is genuinely commendable.