This year’s Columbus Day ceremonies in the nation’s capital will take place on Monday, October 10, 2016, the 104th anniversary of the National Columbus Memorial. The Memorial, which stands in front of Union Station, was unveiled by President William Howard Taft as part of a multi-day celebration in 1912. It was created by the noted sculptor Lorado Taft, under the supervision of a special commission established by Congress.
The Columbus holiday ceremonies are sponsored by the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA), in association with the National Park Service. The Association is made up of representatives from a number of participating organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Italian American Foundation, the Sons of Italy in America and The Lido Civic Club of Washington. It was founded in 1989, and was initially known as the Washington Columbus Celebration Association. Its first order of business was organizing the Quincentenary (500 year anniversary) of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.
The annual ceremonies are open to the public, and begin at 11:00 a.m. on Columbus Plaza. The U.S. Marine Band will perform a musical prelude beginning at 10:45 a.m. The U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard will be joined by a large contingent of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus in full regalia as they present the colors. Speakers will include diplomats from Italy, Spain and the Organization of American States, as well as the winner of the annual Youth Columbus Essay Contest, Morgan Meer, of Pittsburgh, PA.
Information about the Columbus Memorial, the history of Columbus celebrations in the United States, the original 1912 celebration, and much more can be found at the NCCA website, www.christophercolumbus.org.