The second Monday of every October is the observed Columbus Day Federal holiday in the USA. It is a national (federal) day set aside to honor Christopher Columbus and the beginning of the colonization of the Americas, both North and South. It is commemorated in some of the individual states in the USA and disregarded in others. It is a controversial observance in that originally it credited Columbus with “discovering” the “New World” when, in fact, all he did was introduce the indigenous populations to exploitation, greed, disease, famine, oppression and theft.
However, the date is a source of pride for Italian-Americans as Columbus was among the early explorers of Italian descent who brought pride to his country long before Italy achieved unification. He was one of the first of a long line of European explorers who sailed in uncharted waters that led to the rapid colonization and subjugation of unknown territory and populations by Europe.
Many states do not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday because of the controversies surrounding the observance. The myth of Columbus “discovering” a new world has been proved to be a fact as the historical record now reflects that the Vikings came to North America centuries prior to Columbus sailing here. Native American activists have successfully challenged the claim that he was the first to “discover” the lands that they already inhabited.
However, not to worry. The Italian-American community and federal employees will guarantee that the Columbus Day holiday stays with us forever!
Happy Columbus Day!