Columbus Day, to government and a few service industries it means a much deserved day off from work. To retail industries, not so much, not a good reason to loose a day’s profits.
Some of us were taught in school that it represented the celebration of the ‘discovery’ of or land. Now most are taught that that thinking is a hoax, although those teaching this still relish in the day away from work.
Some communities have a parade to mark the day, some have parades to protest the day, and still others have a parade with a reinvented name to try and appease both views.
Does it really matter whether or not Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the New World? Isn’t it sufficient that he be recognized as the premier force behind the formation of an established colony that would grow to be the country we are?
One day, when humans have an established, thriving colony on the moon, will the celebrate the leader of the first group there, or will they celebrate Neil Armstrong that landed, bounced around in the dust, and left, never to return? My money is on the leader of the first group to stay. Neil Armstrong will be but a footnote in history, like the ‘Vikings’.
What does ‘Columbus Day’ mean? I think it is a celebration of a significant milestone in our (American) history. Without that milestone we would not be as we are today. We may still be here, but not the same as we are.
What does it matter? As was once said in a movie; ‘If you don’t know where you are coming from, How do know where you are going to”? We need these celebrations of our past to keep those memories strong in our collective mind. They are the ‘sign posts’ by which we navigate our future.
Whether July 4, 1776 is the actual day we became a country doesn’t matter, what does matter is that each July 4th we celebrate and recognize that we had the strength to become a country. This is no different then Christmas. Is it important whether or not Christ was born on December 25th, or is it important that we come together each December 25th and celebrate the birth of Christ?
So today don’t get caught up in the debate of who actually discovered North America. Take a minute and discuss with a friend or family member the trials and hardships, the excitement and terror, and the hopes and frustrations of those we owe so much to.