Remembering Columbus Day

October 12th, 2015 by Ken

Today is Columbus Day.  It’s one of those part holidays.  A holiday that isn’t recognized everywhere but only in a select few areas.  And it isn’t always on October 12 – anymore.

Columbus Day is a Federal Holiday, part of the Monday holiday schedule set by Congress more than 35 years ago.

But, today is Columbus Day.  All of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s rccognize  this as the day Christopher Columbus founded a New World.   Of course Columbus didn’t know he had reached an unknown continent.  He thought he had reached India or China.

And, it’s not because the continent was lost.  Millions of Native Americans called this country their home.

This is the 523 anniversary of that day – – when the Old Work collided with the New World – and as a result – the Old World conquered the New World.  As more and more Europeans followed in his footsteps they drove out the old inhabitants and established their own settlements.

There’s do doubt that the European settlement of North and South America was the turning point for the native tribes.  Battles with the new settlers continued for more than 400 years- – and in the end – – the natives were destroyed.  Military might and unknown diseases won the battle and eventually the natives were forced onto reservations.

For decades, Americans celebrated Columbus Day as the beginning of a new country – – one based on freedom and equality of opportunity.   Those ideals however, didn’t ring true with the Native Americans, and in the last three decades Columbus Day has been slowly relegated to the outskirts of American history.     Out of sight – – out of mind.

But, in some areas of the country Columbus Day hasn’t been forgotten.   In places like New York City, Columbus Day is still a big hit.   Thousands of people participate in the Columbus Day parade and thousands of others have the day off.

The Federal Government hasn’t been able to drop Columbus Day from its holiday calendar because of the pressure of Italian Americans who want a day to celebrate one of their own.  So Columbus Day stays – – not a full-fledged holiday – – but not something that can be completely ignored.

Each of us has our own opinion about Columbus and Columbus Day and its significance to the founding of our country.

I guess that’s where it has to stay – – in our own minds.

Being remembered now is about the best Christopher Columbus can expect.

Posted in Government, History, The Real News

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