Columbus Day…Why I plan to observe it…always!


OK…Here’s the deal. 1492 was a VERY long, long, LONG time ago. Nobody alive today knows anybody that had anything to do with Christopher Columbus. Maybe the man was a jerk, maybe he was a saint. None of us will ever know, unless somebody invents a time machine, and checks him out.

One thing is certain, He was one of the biggest contributors to exploring the world. He was most certainly a big influence on Magellan, who made it as far as the Philippines when he attempted to circumnavigate the Earth.

Did the man enslave Native Americans? Yup. But slavery dates back to the Old Testament. Does that mean we should stop celebrating all holidays linked to slavery in some way? Of course not!

In 1492 there was no such thing as radar, or long-range weather predictions. If a storm was brewing, little could be done to avoid it. There were no engines to help them steer through massive waves. There was no way to get fresh drinking water if it didn’t rain, and the water you brought ran out. The same with fresh fruits and vegetables. These men sailed into uncertainty, and they deserved to be recognized for that.

Besides? Why do Native Americans living on the continental United States have a gripe with Columbus? Sure, he and his men stole land from Native Americans, but NOT in North America! Columbus landed in the Lesser Antilles on his first expedition, and that is where he captured natives to sell as slaves when he returned to Spain.

He set up a colony on Hispaniola with 39 men, and when he returned in November of 1493, he found the natives had slaughtered the men he left behind after his first voyage.

Did the Native Americans living in present day New England even have a clue that Caribbean Sea even existed??? Were they friends with the folks living in Hispaniola? Somehow I think not.

And somehow, I think the Native Americans living on the Great Plains had even less of an idea there was even an Atlantic Ocean, let alone inhabited islands.

Many folks came with Columbus, on his second voyage, and Ponce de León was one of them. He was the first to get credit for landing in what would become the continental United States. He landed in Florida in 1513. As a matter of fact, he is the one who named it! I don’t know of any holidays celebrated for him, or those who came after him. If you want to be mad at somebody be mad at him…But I don’t think he will care, because he died in 1521.

He attempted to colonize Florida with 200 settlers, but they were driven back by natives called the Calusa. Ponce de León was wounded by what may have been a poison arrow, and died shortly after in Cuba.

Were it not for Columbus, Ponce de León wouldn’t have tried to colonize Florida, so I suppose he can get some blame there, if you REALLY want to reach for it, to blame Columbus for stealing land from Native Americans.

Personally? I am getting sick of the American way of life being attacked by people with hurt feelings! Good or bad, we celebrate our past.

Many people died making The United States Of America what it is today. Native Americans killed settlers, and settlers killed Native Americans. The people living in North America then fought among themselves, be they Native, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, or even Russian.

After The United State won independence from England, Americans fought each other. People have been uprooted, exploited, shunned, and killed.

The important thing is that we learn from our past, and strive to make a better future. Picking the scabs of centuries old wounds will never allow those wounds to heal.

If you don’t want to celebrate Columbus Day…DON’T! It is that simple. Stop trying to make it so others CAN’T celebrate it! Stop making it a political agenda. We have FAR more important things to concern ourselves with.

Let’s focus on improving education, creating a solid job market, and simply being nice to each other TODAY, and TOMORROW, and letting yesterday slide into history.

I’ll celebrate, and honor Christopher Columbus, because some of you tell me I shouldn’t. That is just the way I am! It starts with Columbus Day, and it will move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has already started, and like I said, I AM SICK OF IT!  We ALL should be sick of it, and many of you are. But many others are too busy being offended to understand that as Americans, we are free to decide for ourselves! We don’t need the government to decide for us!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.