So, on this day we recognize the exploits of a great explorer, a man who risked life and limb and small boats in the might and endless sea. And while some like to look at the bad side of the man and his mission, I prefer to look at the adventurism, for were it not for men like these, we would likely still be in the stone age.
But there's so much more, for Columbus represents all of those great explorers without who our great nation would have never been founded. And with my ties to Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina's Outer Banks in my blood, I see this day as being a tribute to the colonists of the Sir Walter Raleigh expedition the Roanoke Island in the 1580's. Yes, it failed, but it was a success in showing that brave men could cross the sea and set up a colony and it taught them how they would have to learn self-sufficiency when they got there or perish.
What's more, John White's explorations while in the area is what taught them about the larger, more inviting to the north and the Chesapeake Bay, the Hampton Roads and the River James which would be explored and settled a mere generation later in 1607, and while suffering through hardships, it became permanent and was thirteen years before Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower.
And we can't forget Saint Augustine, another effort that was spurred on by the efforts of men like Columbus. It was the successful settlement in North Florida that convinced the English they better get to work. Only about four hundred miles as the crow files south of Roanoke Island.
So, here's to Columbus, Ponce de Leon, Sir Walter Raleigh, John White, John Smith, Christopher Newport and all those brave men who began the exploration. They were all from the same mold as our modern day astronauts, they just didn't have the technological know-how, but they paved the way.