Now we cross our fingers and wait
If you were an editor at The Free Lance-Star, you would’ve received this email from me yesterday. You might even have read it.
Here a few style points to keep in mind as we write and edit Memorial Day stories.
* The word for the lighted candle in a paper bag is “luminaria,” not “luminary.” When we refer to more than one, the plural is “luminarias.” The “arias” ending for the plural is correct. For real. It’s in Webster’s. It does have a Latin root, but the word comes to American English through Spanish. Calling the event “a luminaria” is problematic because the word is not a plural. Maybe we could call it a “luminaria display” or a “luminaria event.”
* The military’s nighty-night bugle call is taps, small T, no quote marks. It’s a bugle call, not a song title.
* We may sing the national anthem, lowercase, no quote marks, or “The Star-Spangled Banner,” uppercase with quote marks. Note that “Star-Spangled” is hyphenated. This is in quotation marks because it is the title of a song.
* The American flag is uppercase A, lowercase F. If you’re feeling poetic you might call it Old Glory, uppercase but not in quote marks. If the flag is lowered halfway down the pole, it’s at half-staff, not half-mast, unless you are on a ship or at a naval installation.
* When you’re dealing with Confederate flags, watch out. There are maybe a half-dozen names for different Confederate flags. If you use the name of a specific flag, get someone in a Confederate uniform or period clothing to tell you what it is, then Google it just to be sure. Then ask Clint. Or you can just call any version of the Confederate flag a Confederate flag.
* Oh, and the Latin phrase “in memoriam” is spelled with the -iam ending, not -ium.
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it does cover some of the things that might give us trouble.