- Super Bowl Commerical Contest
- Same-Sex Wedding at Rose Parade
- Children Overdose Concerns
- Phil Robertson Speaks About Marriage
- Most Admired Person
- Minimum Wage Increases for Some
- Ban on Kids Playing
- A&E & Cast Of Duck Dynasty Settle Differences
- Target: Encrypted PINs were Stolen
- 1.3 Million Losing Unemployment Benefits
- Plus Size Barbie Debate
- Poll: Americans Hopeful for a Better Year
- Major Delays with Christmas Deliveries
- Y'all, Youse, You Guys...What?
- The Grinch, Arrested
- Teacher Disciplined for Racial Santa Remark
- Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year
- Base Takes Down Nativity Scene
- Top 100 Baby Names of 2013
- Sam Champion Leaving ABC
- Wanted: Ugly Women for Army Ads
- Zimmerman Back in Headlines
- Male vs. Female Bosses
- Shots Fired In NJ Mall
- Hallmark Apologizes for Ornament
- Hallmark Apologizes for Ornament
- ND Woman Intends to Trick Overweight Kids
- Facebook Giraffes...What?
- Hough Costume Backlash
- Cheerleades Punished for Giving Condoms
- Study: Spanking Could Lead to Agressive Behavior
- Halloween Decorations Prompt 911 Call
- Facebook Teens Share with Bigger Audience
- Cost of the Government Shutdown
- Senate Passes Bill To Reopen Govt.
- Mom Lives to See Daughters Marry
- Soldier Delivers 'Salute Seen Around the World'
- Columbus Day 2013: Hero, Villain or Both?
- Thousands Protest Closures During 'Million Vet March'
- McDonalds: "No Sagging" Warning
- Early Snow in SD Kills Thousands of Cattle
- NE Teen Ruled Too Immature for Abortion
- Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- S.C. Man Maintains Memorials
- Truckers Plan D.C. Protest
- VA Secretary: Shutdown Could Hit Millions of Vets
- New $100 Bills into Circulation
Columbus Day 2013: Hero, Villain or Both?
Updated: Monday, October 14 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
Time was when sailor Christopher Columbus unequivocally "discovered" America, but that was before the debate about his legacy recast him in school history books as the Italian explorer who, more accurately, raised and solidified European awareness of the Americas after arriving Oct. 12, 1492, in what would become known as the Bahamas.
In short, Columbus wasn't the first European to reach the Americas. But he made the most of it, for better or worse. And that's where the Columbus Day debate continues, including periodic calls to dump the holiday, or modify it to something like "Exploration Day."
The United States is hardly alone in celebrating Columbus Day, but even here it's not unanimous.
South Dakota, for instance, clearly falls on the other side of the debate, after 23 years ago changing the second Monday in October from Columbus Day to Native American Day in honor of the indigenous people who suffered near-annihilation after Columbus opened doors to the New World.
Many Italian-Americans defend Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage and the generations of Italians who've contributed mightily to U.S. prominence through their work and philanthropy. Of that there's no doubt, although critics, including some Italian-Americans, have pointed out that the Oct. 12, 1492, arrival itself is no representation of the Italian experience. Supporters claim him as a source of pride, however, not unlike other cultures that honor their sons and daughters as pioneers.
Columbus is an obvious target of scorn and resentment for Native Americans whose fortunes declined precipitously in the aftermath of his journey to the New World. He and his men also brutalized people of the West Indies and enslaved others. Columbus supporters don't deny the mixed legacy, but some of them point out that the national holiday is rooted in the notion that it serve as an opportunity to bring Italian-Americans, Native-Americans and others together.
There are 30-plus U.S. cities and townships named Columbus, and apparently little push to rename any of them, suggesting that the debate has long been settled for some people with the closest association to the explorer.
Photo courtesy: Bettmann/Corbis