A petition to capitalize the word “Veteran” is rapidly gaining momentum, and for good reasons. But it’s not just about using the correct grammar for a proper noun. It’s also about showing respect for a title earned.

But why does it matter? 

The word “veteran,” is not currently recognized as a proper noun or title when we speak of an individual or a group who has served in the United States military.

Marine Corps Vetetan and entrepreneur, Patch Baker, wants to change that.

He says, “We need to regard the title of “Veteran” as a proper noun that demonstrates our respect with a capital “V.” This one step, embodied in style guides, dictionaries, and usage rules throughout the world will demonstrate, fundamentally and inherently, our acknowledgment for all who hold the title of Veterans, in every sense of the word.”

Baker has started a petition on Change.org to get the Associated Press to change the way the word Veteran appears in written communication. 

If the AP adopts this change, it would be a turning point because the AP Stylebook is used by most media organizations in the US today. Their action could effectively change how the word Veteran is treated from a grammatical standpoint, as well as formally bestowing the respect the title deserves. 

It’s important to note that the title, Veteran, has been earned by surprisingly few people. In a population of 331,002,651 American citizens today, there are only 18,800,000 living Veterans. That’s a minuscule 7.6 percent of the population. 

Those who enlist in the Marine Corps earn the title of “Marine” upon completing the Crucible—an intense and nonstop 54-hour training event that spans 45 miles and is the culmination of everything they’ve worked for throughout the previous 12 weeks.

From that moment on, they will forever proudly carry the title, Marine. And they should, since they did what so few people are able and willing to do. 

As a Marine Veteran myself, I have a special place in my heart for my Marine Corps and the title we earned through blood, sweat, and tears. But don’t all Veterans deserve a proper title?

I certainly think so. 

And a growing number of others—civilians and Veterans alike—think so too. 

The way I see it, being a Veteran is far more than just a previous job you list on your resume. It’s a calling. Sure, the word Veteran describes what you’ve done, but I believe a more important distinction is that it describes who you are.

A Veteran is the kind of person who is eager to put literally everything on the line to defend what they believe in. They endure physical and emotional harm, sacrifice their own comfort, spend time away from their families, and in many cases, even give up their life—all to protect Americans and the American way of life.

If that doesn’t warrant a proper title, I don’t know what does.

If you agree, like I do, that the word, Veteran, should be capitalized, I encourage you to sign the petition and share it with others.