Remembering the greats

(CBS News)  With the passing of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost one of its greatest leaders.

When Time magazine compiled its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century in the late 1990s, Mandela was one of just 20 in the category of most influential leaders and revolutionaries, along with our own civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among others on the list: Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

And, in a nod to evil's influence, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong are on the list as well. 

Time then went on to name the last century's three greatest people.

Tied for runner-up were our own President Franklin D. Roosevelt -- honored for his role during both the Great Depression and World War II -- and Mohandas Gandhi, widely known as Mahatma, who led India's campaign against British colonialism by non-violent means.

Gandhi inspired (among many others) Nelson Mandela, who praised him in an essay for Time. 

"Both Gandhi and I suffered colonial oppression," Mandela wrote, "and both of us mobilized our respective peoples against governments that violated our freedoms."

Yet, when it came to choosing the GREATEST figure of the 20th century, Time looked beyond politics to choose . . . Albert Einstein, the scientist who derived the equation E=MC squared . . . a choice defended by Time's then-managing editor Walter Isaacson: "Einstein had a great quote once. He said, 'Politics is for the moment. An equation is for eternity.'"

Today, Nelson Mandela finds himself among the Greats of the last century.

The honor roll for THIS century is still wide open.

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