For most, Columbus Day is just another day

Published 5:04 pm Friday, October 9, 2020

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Monday is a federal holiday. The U.S. Postal Service will give their employees a day off and federal offices will be closed. Few states and local governments recognize the day as a holiday.
For most, it is just another day. What holiday is it? It is Columbus Day.
According to the 2020 Presidential Proclamation for Columbus Day, “On October 12, 1492, after a perilous, two-month journey across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean, Christopher Columbus and his crew aboard the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria landed in what is today The Bahamas. This watershed voyage ushered in the Age of Exploration, changing the course of history and setting the foundation for development of our Nation. Today, we commemorate this great explorer, whose courage, skill, and drive for discovery are at the core of the American spirit.”
The proclamation also states that “In commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934, and modified in 1968 (36 U.S.C. 107), as amended, has requested the President proclaim the second Monday of October of each year as ‘Columbus Day.’” 
In recent years there has been a movement to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.
According to an Associated Press article, “Around 10 states observe some version of Indigenous Peoples Day, along with more than 100 U.S. cities. 
“Native American advocates for years have pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day over concerns that Columbus helped launch centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas.”
The purpose of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not to erase Columbus Day from history, but rather to recognize, honor, and celebrate the Native American cultures and people who have inhabited the Americas since long before European explorers arrived.
There are several federal holidays that give federal employees a break. Columbus Day is one of them. In most cases, such as Columbus Day, Labor Day, etc., it becomes more about the day off and we forget what we are actually trying to commemorate.
According to the Library of Congress, “The 400th anniversary of the event inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892, ‘recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America…’ and describing Columbus as “the pioneer of progress and enlightenment.’”
How many of you actually thought about that, thought about the discovery of America on Monday?
Neither Carter County or Elizabethton City governments celebrate the day. Elizabethton City Schools will be on spring break next week.
Also, Tennessee does not recognize the day as a paid holiday, so state employees will be at their jobs just like most other people —  just another work day to most.

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