Columbus Day (Oct. 10) is rapidly approaching and, with its arrival, comes the usual rhetoric about perpetuating this holiday. Perhaps it is time to re-focus and re-purpose Columbus Day.
In reality, there is a lot more to this holiday than the commemoration of a now contentious, controversial seafaring explorer. Columbus Day presents us with an opportunity to honor, celebrate, and recognize our unique ethnic heritages and cultures. It is a time to embrace and to pay homage to our diversity and the universal thread that sews us all together as one people: Americans.
Columbus Day gives us a day to appreciate the sacrifices that our forefathers made so we can have a better life for ourselves and our families. It is a time to celebrate the achievement of the American Dream — a dream made possible by immigrants from all parts of the world who came to this nation with uncompromising desire, unbending gumption, and unyielding determination.
Columbus Day is about the American immigrant experience — an experience that continues to make the United States the greatest nation on Earth.
Some honor, praise, and eulogize Christopher Columbus for opening a “New World” of opportunity for the huddled masses. Others denounce him for spreading disease and murdering the indigenous population, for exploiting the Native American people for his own personal gain, and for institutionalizing the slave trade in the Western Hemisphere.
But, for many others, Columbus Day is about honoring our diversity.
John Di Genio