Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Real Columbus Day - October 12

Before 1971 when Congress decided we needed another 3-day weekend and changed it to the second Monday in October, Columbus Day was always celebrated October 12 - the day Christopher Columbus set foot in the new world in 1492. As kids in grade school, we learned all about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, Columbus, who, though born in Genoa, was setting sail under the flag of Spain, and his ships, La Nina, La Pinta and La Santa Maria.
Special stamps, including the 4-center above, were printed in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' achievement. The World's Columbian Exposition - also known as the Chicago World's Fair - was designed to feature the 400th anniversary, too. And even though dedication ceremonies were held in October, 1892, the fair didn't open to the public until May, 1893.
Columbus Day is no longer celebrated as it once was due to recognition of the cruel treatment and eradication of indigenous peoples during the colonization of the Americas by European settlers. Some cities and states have renamed the holiday "Indigenous People's Day" or "Native American Day".


This picture of my niece, Kristi, was taken August, 1980 when we lived on Tuck Corner. When she was born, October 12, 1968, I knew it would be easy to remember her birthday - 1) because it was Columbus Day and 2) because it was also my father-in-law's* birthday.

Doug's Grandpa Charles William Botkin was born October 12, 1903. I have given Doug most of the pictures of his Dad's family but I did find this multi-generational one with Chuck in it. We were celebrating Brock's first birthday in 1982. Standing, left-to-right, (Brock's) Great-grandma, Ruth Lynam; Great-great grandmother, Delphia Ridnour; Great-grandma, Betty Botkin and Great-grandpa, Chuck Botkin. Seated are Brock and his Great-great grandmother, Bessie Lynam.
I still think of October 12 as the real Columbus Day, but now the only celebrating I think of is for Kristi.
(* at that time)



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