The Person of the Year Is...

TFK readers name the U.S. Armed Forces the top newsmaker of 2011

Jan 03, 2012 | By Stephanie Kraus

In December, we asked TFK readers to choose the most important newsmaker of 2011. More than 11,000 votes were cast, and the results are in! Who is TFK’s Person of the Year? For the third year in a row, TFK readers chose the 1.4 million men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S. Armed Forces received more than 3,000 votes. Pop singer Selena Gomez received the second highest number of votes. Technology innovator Steve Jobs, the cofounder of Apple who passed away this year, came in a close third.

Bringing Troops Home

It was a very important year for the U.S. Armed Forces. On May 1, 2011, members of an elite Navy squad called SEAL Team 6 shot and killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was the founder of al-Qaeda, a militant Islamist group responsible for many attacks against military—and civilian—targets around the world, including the infamous September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The extraordinary bravery displayed by members of SEAL Team 6 is an outstanding example of the dedication to our nation shown by the many men and women on active duty in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

In October, President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. During the holidays, many families and friends welcomed home loved ones returning from Iraq.

Plans are also in place to continue the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. By the end of 2012, there will be 33,000 fewer U.S. troops there. That is nearly a third less than the 101,000 who were there in June 2011.

“A TIME-Honored Tradition”

TFK’s Person of the Year announcement follows an 83-year-old tradition started by TIME magazine. At the end of each year, TIME editors recognize the person, group or (sometimes) idea that has influenced events and had the greatest impact on the world for the preceding 12 months. TIME chose “The Protestor” for its 2011 Person of the Year. Protestors made their voices heard around the world, bringing change to countries including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In the United States, the Occupy Wall Street movement raised awareness about the gap between the rich and the poor.

Who will become the Person of the Year in 2012? Perhaps an election political figure or an athlete in the summer Olympic games will win the title. Teaching kids about the people who are changing our world is something TFK aims to do every week. Together, we will watch world events unfold during the year ahead.