Remember those words from elementary school memory work so many years ago? Well, if you are under fifty, you likely don't, but Columbus Day was always celebrated in days gone by, a tribute to a great explorer who got the credit for finding the New World. Whether he was first or not, he was recognized since he had great support from many in influence who pushed his claim and remember, getting the word out in those days wasn't as easy as turning on a television. The true impact it had was to achieve recognition that there was a New World out there much closer than the Far East and it would follow that the Spanish, French, and English would take interest with colonization in St. Augustine, accomplished but not lasting on Roanoke Island (the Lost Colony) and Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent settlement of the English in America, thirteen years before Plymouth Rock. Had Columbus not done what he did, the future of the United States could have been quite different.
Today, there are those who want to eliminate Columbus Day as a holiday and proclaim this day as Indigenous Peoples Day. Really? They claim that Columbus was brutal and pillaged everything in sight during his travels. They claim that the poor, helpless natives negate anything he did. The problem with that argument is that you can't tell that story without telling what he accomplished if you seek truth. And we must look at the overall impact and what it did for all of us who have been blessed to be Americans. History without truth as well, without telling the rest of the story, isn't history at all and life in those times was exceedingly brutal on all fronts. The indigenous people routinely made war with other tribes, took women for their desires and butchered many and put many more in bondage. It was the way things were and again, we can learn from that. And since history is such a good tool for learning from mistakes of the past, shouldn't we use it for that purpose instead of banishing truth for adjusted copy which loses sight of so much truth? Trying to banish the story of Columbus is just one more attempt by some to silence others of a different view and to brainwash our precious children who need to learn about good and evil and distinguish between them, not by indoctrination but by truth.
So, I will continue to celebrate Columbus on this day and marvel at the great accomplishments he made as an explorer for opening up the New World. He did so in small boats, something that would equate today to the bravery of someone rocketing nto space on the back of a giant Roman candle. That in no way means that I agree with other things about him but, then again, we are all sinners as we try to find our way. Furthermore, the very freedom that later came about in America, a land which offered freedom to so many who were oppressed by a European caste system in which they had no chance to improve their lot. America has done so much to ameliorate making mistakes while so much of the world still finds slavery in abundance and women treated like chattel. Let us never forget that by relying on real history and not just a selected portion thereof, we are reminded of those things that we need not repeat.