Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Corazon Aquino

Long before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolutions that transformed Central and Eastern Europe, Corazon Aquino led the People Power revolution, which toppled the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. His ouster after the infamous snap election of 1986, for which I was a U.S. observer, led TIME to name her Woman of the Year. Her presidency survived eight coup attempts as she patiently restored constitutional democracy to her country, where she died a revered figure. But her legacy was global. For the U.S., it marked the start of the Reagan doctrine to oppose authoritarianism of the right and left, and she helped inspire peaceful upheavals around the world. She showed that one person of modest demeanor can change history.

—Richard Lugar

Lugar is a U.S. Senator from Indiana