Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has signed a declaration to protect the legacy of Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day in the state of Florida. The holiday wasn’t always “so political,” the governor says.
“Columbus Day commemorates the life and legacy of the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, who made Europeans conscious of the existence of the New World and whose travels opened the door for the development of European settlements in the Western Hemisphere, which would ultimately lead to the establishment of the United States of America,” the declaration reads.
“Columbus stands a singular figure in Western Civilization who exemplified courage, risk-taking, and heroism in the face of enormous odds; as a visionary who saw the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe; and as a founding father who laid the foundation for what would one day become the United States of America, which would commemorate Columbus by naming its federal district after him,” it continues.
DeSantis also recognizes that Columbus Day is a significant holiday for Italian-Americans, saying “Columbus continues to be a historical figure who engenders the pride of nearly 17 million Italian Americans, a community whose warmth, generosity, patriotism, and love of family have made those characteristics even greater components of the broader American culture and way of life.”
“We must learn from history and continue to discuss Columbus’ contributions, discoveries, and experiences rather than revise history, and acknowledge that individuals who seek to defame Columbus and try to expunge the day from our civic calendar do so as part of a mission to portray the United States and Western history in a negative light as they seek to blame our country and its values for all that is evil in the world, rather than see it as the force for good.”
Meanwhile, President Biden issued a proclamation to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Biden is the first U.S. president to commemorate the holiday since its inception in 1992 in Berkeley, California.