What the late Congressman Peter Rodino Said About Columbus and Columbus Day

| July 5, 2020

“As I envision it, Columbus Day would be a multipurpose national holiday. It would, of course , recognize Christopher Columbus , the undaunted admiral who heroically braved the myth and mysteries of the terrifying , uncharted Atlantic to discover America. That bold and daring venture, a major milestone in the history of mankind, deserves to be remembered anew each year. In and of itself, it is sufficient reason to justify a national celebration in a country that owes its existence to that magical moment of discovery. Whether Columbus was actually the first or second, or even the third, voyager to reach these shores is purely academic and totally irrelevant . It detracts nothing from the intrepid admiral’s daring and determination. It subtracts nothing from the everlasting significance of his unique and monumental achievement. This leads me to my second purpose for a national Columbus Day observance. it would, as I see it, be an ideal day for an annual reaffirmation by the American people of their faith in the future, a declaration of willingness to face with confidence the imponderables of unknown tomorrows . In the courageous spirit of Columbus, we would pay tribute to the virtue of perseverance against the paralysis of baseless, ill – founded fear .

Further, Columbus Day would be a perfect occasion for the Nation to pause each year to pay homage to the cause and challenge of discovery, invention, and exploration. It would be a time to review our progress in the search for technological advances to improve our way of life by making it better , safer , and more satisfying ; to evaluate our gains in the patient quest for cures to diseases that kill and cripple; to appraise the wondrous probes into the vast and awesome void of outer space . Finally , Columbus Day would be a day to honor immigrants of all nationalities and acknowledge their contributions to the building of a strong, just, and prosperous United States of America.”

-Congressman Rodino, a proud ItalianAmerican, was  the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where he oversaw the impeachment process against Richard Nixon that eventually led to the president’s resignation.  He also authored the bill that designated Columbus Day as a national holiday.   WHERE IS OUR RODINO TODAY?

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Category: Italian Americans

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