So today is Columbus Day, a federal holiday that was once devoted to celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.  I say “once devoted” because revisionist history has for the most part cast Columbus as a pretty bad guy with some historians claiming that he abused the native population of the Americas.  His alleged treatment of the indigenous population during the European colonization of the Americas has resulted in many Americans today against any celebration of Columbus Day.

Many states no longer recognize the day as a holiday and replaced it with celebrations of Indigenous Peoples” Day and in some cases cities have done the same.  Clearly it’s not what I grew up with when Columbus was portrayed as a heroic figure.  Today many statues and monuments of him have been taken down at the request of Native Americans and others.

I’m not smart enough to make an argument for or against the Italian explorer and navigator but I do know this.  To most Italians Columbus Day is really a celebration of their heritage much like the Irish treat St. Patrick’s Day and other ethnic groups celebrate special days.  The holiday is an important one to many who use it to recognize the contributions of Americans of Italian descent.

As they have for many Seaside Heights hosted the Ocean County Columbus Day Parade on Sunday and all weekend had thousands flock to their Italian festival.  There was no official touting of Columbus as a great man and it appears history will treat him as both good and evil, like many of the past.

The day and celebration means much to many Italians and it should be left alone for the current generation and those in the future.

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