We all have pet peeves,things that really just bug the tar out of us. Perhaps it is because I was born on the holiday, but I get so frustrated about Columbus Day. It seems that anymore I hear that we should stop honoring the man and his crew who discovered the Americas (alright, it was really the Bahamas) that led to white settlers coming and founding colonies. The excuses I hear are because he took the natives as slaves, or that those who followed stole the land from the natives. Americans have come to view this man as someone we should be ashamed of and to be quite frank, I am sick of it. He did the same things that were being done around the world at that and accepted as common practice. If we are going to stop recognizing those who did things that today are no longer acceptable, we may as well stop teaching history altogether.
I am proud to live in this country, even with its flaws. I am thankful for the freedoms we have, even when I don’t agree with what some do with that freedom. I praise God that we have the freedom to practice our faith without fear of reprisal. The United States was The Great Experiment that led to not only our great republic, but other countries following suit in an attempt to provide their own citizens with a form of democracy not seen since ancient Greece. If it were not for Columbus where would I be now? What kind of world would this be?
Why Americans have suddenly become ashamed of this holiday I don’t understand, many other countries continue to honor that voyage. The Bahamas, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay differ on their naming of the day but they too honor a man with vision. Yes, I know his vision did not include 2 continents getting in the way of a quick passage to China, but often our greatest discoveries have been the result of a mistake. (When was the last time you needed penicillin?)
Why is okay to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the schools and yet teachers won’t even acknowledge that Columbus Day exists? I have sat in the classrooms where I said “Happy Columbus Day” and the teacher blows me off and won’t tell the kids what I am talking about. I say fly your flag on Monday, be proud of how we came to be. The only things that Christopher Columbus symbolizes are men and women who desired to try something new. To explore new ideas and determine if old beliefs were accurate. To have the opportunity to become successful and well-known in his chosen field. Isn’t that what all democracies strive for today? Teach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that includes honoring what Columbus and his crew did in 1492.