At a time when far-left extremists are vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus, and when even politicians such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have considered tearing down statues of the man who discovered America for Europe, President Donald Trump reminded Americans why we celebrate Columbus Day.
In 1492, 525 years ago, Christopher Columbus took a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Trump noted in an Oct. 6 proclamation for Columbus Day that “The voyage was a remarkable and then-unparalleled feat that helped launch the age of exploration and discovery.”
The discovery by Columbus brought the permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas, which Trump noted was a “transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great Nation.”
The event is celebrated in many parts of the world. In Latin America it’s the Día de la Hispanidad, in Spain it’s the Fiesta Nacional, in Belize and Uruguay it is celebrated as a day to respect cultural diversity on Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural, and in the United States it’s celebrated as Columbus Day.
In his proclamation recognizing the U.S. holiday on Oct. 9, Trump said, “on Columbus Day, we honor the skilled navigator and man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions—even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity.”
He said that even five centuries after the voyage, “we remember the ‘Admiral of the Ocean Sea’ for building the critical first link in the strong and enduring bond between the United States and Europe.”
Columbus was a native of the City of Genoa, in present-day Italy, and his voyage was sponsored by Isabella I and Ferdinand II of Spain.
Trump said the holiday “represents the rich history of important Italian American contributions to our great Nation,” and noted, “There can be no doubt that American culture, business, and civic life would all be much less vibrant in the absence of the Italian American community.”
Trump also paid his respects to Italy, and took the opportunity to “reaffirm our close ties to Columbus’s country of birth,” noting that “Italy is a strong ally and a valued partner in promoting peace and promoting prosperity around the world.”
To commemorate Columbus’s historic voyage, Congress passed a joint resolution on April 30, 1934, which was modified in 1968, to recognize Columbus Day. And Trump again took the opportunity to proclaim the second Monday of October each year as Columbus Day.
Trump said that as “President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2017, as Columbus Day.”
“I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities,” Trump said. “I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and all who have contributed to shaping this Nation.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017