Shock to the system

Hello, readers. It’s good to be back with you.

This weekend, I suffered a shock regarding a US holiday that is coming up in November. This holiday is Veterans Day.

Notice how I wrote it above. No apostrophe anywhere. That’s the surprise that I got.

My church has an annual Veterans Day luncheon and for the last couple of weeks, the church program has had an announcement about it. The trouble was that the person who wrote the announcement wrote the name of the holiday as “Veteran’s Day.”

Upon seeing this, I thought, “That isn’t correct, because using the singular possessive means that you are honoring only one veteran. We, as a country, are honoring all of our veterans, not just one.” And so I changed the holiday’s name in the program to what I thought must be correct: “Veterans’ Day.” I remembered reading a column in The Washington Post when I was a teenager where the author insisted that the plural possessive was correct.

This weekend, it finally dawned on me that I should look up the name of the holiday in The Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition, which is the gold standard for most editing and of which I have both a hard copy and an online subscription. “After all,” I mused, “the church’s luncheon is not until November 13 and the announcement will most certainly run in the program at least one more time. Better make sure it’s right.”

According to CMoS section 8.89, the name of the holiday is “Veterans Day.”

No apostrophe.

Such embarrassment on my part. Huge sigh.

This was one of those instances where one’s mistake and the correct alternative are not quickly forgotten, because the level of humiliation is so high.

Frederick Christian Fellowship Church, I owe you a great big apology.

Before I retreat into my shell, I would like to point out something that I do know: the names of secular and faith-based holidays are always capitalized: Christmas Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, et cetera.

CMoS 8.89 taught me that, too.

Pass the crow. I’ll have another helping.

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