Everyone knows that Christopher Columbus landed in North America (specifically, the Bahamas) on October 12, 1492. Since this day became a federal holiday in 1937, there have been a lot of misconceptions about what it really stands for. Although Columbus was not the first person to step foot in North America, nor the first to “discover” it, he has definitely become the most famous. The Santa Maria’s voyage has been immortalized in many songs and poems ever since. However, because of Columbus’ deprived moral character, gross atrocities, and general unworthiness of praise, many Americans have started turning away from this holiday. Despite Christopher Columbus’ selfish drive for gold and power, and his barbaric treatment of the welcoming natives, his arrival to the New World and over-exaggerated report to the Spanish crown managed to mark the beginning of a new era – the mass migration of European settlers to the Americas.
There may not be much to celebrate about the careless pursuit of money, or the slaughter and egregious exploitation of human beings, however, we should take a moment to appreciate what Columbus Day truly stands for - the very beginning of what is now known as the great United States of America. Columbus’ journey paved the way for many other travelers to come here and make it a better place for everyone. Travelers such as Bartolome de las Casas, who spent all of his wealth and more than half of his life fighting for the native Americans and humanity in general. My own journey from Bulgaria to the U.S. is partially owed to Mr. Columbus’ success. Our country is now a tapestry of cultures and beliefs from around the world, constantly changing our national identity with every coming year.
So today I invite all American citizens, current, and future immigrants, and people of the world to take a moment and appreciate the day when this powerful country, now known as the United States of America, first became a popular destination, 523 years ago.
By: Nikolay G. Markov - 10/12/2015