MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Monday is Columbus Day, perhaps the most inconsistently celebrated and controversial of national holidays. If you get the holiday you may have to be reminded of which Monday holiday it is.
When I was in grade school Columbus Day was a big deal without controversy. Today Columbus' treatment of the natives of the Caribbean, among other issues, has become a primary point of the discussion. I'm OK with that. We should know history for what it truly was.
But what really mattered was Columbus landing on San Salvador, which was a momentous, world-changing event, something rare in human history. NASA's Orion program intends to send humans to explore Mars. It is one of the things we do. We explore the unknown in hopes that it will make our lives better and more meaningful. Our attempts are not perfect, nor are we who explore.
American holidays center around a series of great events and persons in our history to instill a feeling of civic pride. Holidays are for bringing everyone together, not for excluding people.
Whoever you are, if you need a reason to celebrate or a justification to be off work Monday, consider Columbus and what he did, and how it represents, perhaps more than any other event, the daring, determination and bravery of humans to explore.