Today is Monday, November 11. It is also Veterans Day; but unlike other national holidays that have been moved arbitrarily to Monday for a long weekend’s sake, this holiday falls on November 11 no matter what day of the week that is. I like that.
To clear some misconceptions, the US Department of Defense provided an online fact sheet about the holiday. First, there is no apostrophe in the name of the day. According to the DOD, “This holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It’s a day for honoring all veterans – so no apostrophe needed.” I don’t like that.
Rather, I think either apostrophe is appropriate and far more personal than what the DOD believes.
Veterans Day and Memorial Day are not the same. The former honors all people who served in the military in war or in peace. It’s a day to say “Thank you” for their service. The latter honors those military who gave their lives for their country, either in battle or from wounds suffered on the battlefield.
Originally Veterans Day was called Armistice Day, because it recognized the end of World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. That conflict has been called the “war to end all wars,” but obviously it wasn’t. It’s one hundred years later, and we’re still sending men and women off to fight.
Which means Veterans Day will be around for a long time to come.