As the New York Times moves forward with its dismaying plan to lay off dozens of copy editors restructure its copy desk, a memorial in Columbia City, Indiana, is crying out with a message: The world needs copy editors. More than ever.

The monument honors 15 local soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. Alongside the central stone slab, it features a bench remembering those who fought in other wars. Among them are the Iraq War and the “War on Terriorism” — a new benchmark for memorial misspellings.

The typo raises all kinds of entertaining possibilities. Would that it were actually a tribute to the heroes of a little-known war against French vintners or to the promulgators of an obscure assault on feisty dogs. Alas, the spelling would still be wrong. “A pretty small thing to worry about” and yet a pretty big loss in the war on typos.

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...