Yesterday was Columbus Day. My first memory of Columbus Day was in 3rd grade, when my mom attended community college and my dad worked for a bank, which both recognized Columbus Day; my parents mistakenly thought we didn’t have school that day, so we were all home when the school called to inquire if my sister and I were sick. Turns out, our school didn’t honor Columbus Day 😉 That was the only hours of school I had missed unrelated to doctor’s appointments in almost 3 years. I also remember that day because it was the first day our new classmate B started – B would become one of my childhood friends and I was one of his groomsmen (and vice versa) when he was married in 1992.
But as someone who has studied Columbus a little bit, I can’t believe that we still celebrate a man who not only never actually touched ground in the US, but lied to his men and actually destroyed the people he discovered in the Carribean. He was not some great diplomat who forged meaningful relationships with the people he met, he was an invader and a slaver, and not even a good one at that (later conquistadors were much more efficent at conquering and plundering). Was he a man of a more violent and more ignorant time? Probably. But that does not mean we in the US should celebrate him.