Monday, April 17, 2017

Patriot(s) and apostrophes

I live in Massachusetts... which means that today - the third Monday in April - is Patriot's Day.

Or - wait...  is it Patriots Day, Patriot's Day, or Patriots' Day?

Those of you who know me, know that a misplaced apostrophe is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I was recently on a website where one of the tabs was labeled Birthday's...  and if I could, I would have hacked into their website and removed the offensive and inappropriate apostrophe.  So as this quasi-holiday approached, I found myself wondering what the correct name was.  Yes, I've lived in Massachusetts for many years, but I rarely write the name of the day.. and when you say the day out loud, it doesn't really matter where the apostrophe is.  But now that the question had occurred to me, I really wanted needed to know if there was an apostrophe, and if so, where it belonged.

So of course I took to my friends Google and Wikipedia.  I found some really interesting information, and discovered the cause of my confusion.

As I already knew, Patriots' Day celebrates the Battles of Lexington and Concord... which were the first battles of the revolutionary war. There's a re-enactment of the battle every year (actually two.. one in Lexington, and one in Concord), and it includes the ride of Paul Revere.  And I also knew that the holiday is technically on April 19th.. but like so many other holidays, it was shifted to a Monday  (another one of my peeves, although a minor one). And of course I know that the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day.  And I knew that the Boston Marathon had been run on that day, for over a hundred years.

But that still left the question of the apostrophe.

Here's the answer ---

Patriot Day is the anniversary of 9/11/2001

Patriots Day is the name of the movie about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

Patriot's Day is the name of the Maine holiday celebrating the Lexington Concord battles, and is also the name of the holiday in Tennessee.

Patriots' Day is the name of the holiday celebrating the battles, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

The Florida state legislature has recognized Patriots' Day (April 19) as "one of great historical significance" and encourages people to 'commemorate' the day, although it's not an official holiday.

And not to leave out my Canadian friends (even the coffee-drinking ones!), Canada celebrates National Patriots' Day on the Monday preceding May 25.

What does all of this mean?  Well among other things, it means that this is one situation where I'm going to give you a pass, whether you leave off the S, use the S but no apostrophe, or use the apostrophe in one of two different places.

Yes, this is a great day of celebration.... because it's not often that I give people a pass on apostrophes.
And -- like any celebration -- it deserves a good cup of tea.  So I'm off to enjoy my typhoo tea, and I hope you enjoy this day as well.


  1. Well there now, you have taught me something. I did not know that in Canada we have a National Patriots' Day. But that's probably because while my best buddies in Quebec are celebrating the French patriots who in the Rebellion of 1837, defeated the English, I'm across the provincial border in Ontario celebrating Victoria Day. Many here, including us coffee drinkers, actually use a more unifying term for the May long weekend, calling it "The May Two-Four" where two-four = twenty-four, which might be the day of the late Queen's birthday but more typically refers to a case of beer. Which just goes to prove that we can all rally around beverages, tea, coffee, beer.

  2. I'm thinking it should be spelled: free day off that many other states don't get so count your lucky start. But that's just me.