We here at CBS News have been working with the journalism folks at Time magazine on trying to pick a person, one person, to be quote, "Person of the Century."
First, the most important 100 people of the century, then, get it down to 20, and then, pick one. We'll have a book out on this later in the year, but that's not what this little piece is about. What this is about is my mind wandering over the suspicion that our friends at Time may have an inclination to pick Winston Churchill as our Person of the Century. We'll see.
Certainly, a strong case can be made for Churchill. After all it was he, more than any other single person, who in several important ways saved Britain during World War II, saving Western Civilization. He did it with the only weapon left to him: words. Churchill used the marvelous English language to rally what was left of Western Civilization not to give in to what, at that time, looked to be the unbeatable Third Reich of Adolph Hitler.
Churchill urged - led - not capitulation but defiance. He rallied first the British, who looked to all the world as beaten, a walkover for Hitler. But thanks much to Churchill, they weren't. Then he rallied America to the cause, and then the West as whole. Churchill as Person of the Century? I'm not so sure. But at the very least, he deserves serious consideration.