Monday, October 8, 2012

“Exploration Day” Instead of “Columbus Day”?

On previous Columbus Days we've wondered whether or not the date ought to be renamed for a different Italian explorer with a less checkered past than Christopher Columbus. But what about renaming the day to honor the accomplishments of all explorers in the U.S.?

Two new petitions have been launched (through and The White House) seeking to rededicate Columbus Day as Exploration Day. 

"Rededicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so," said Karl Frank, one of the men behind the Exploration Day plan, to Discovery News. "But for those who find Columbus's role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breadth of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides."

Frank and his cohorts, Tom Diehl and Dr. Rod Wright, claimed that they were inspired by the efforts of recently deceased astronaut Neil Armstrong.
“Inspired by the likes of Armstrong’s generation, we are finished wondering and are ready to make it happen by rekindling that fire of exploratory spirit intrinsic in all of humanity,” noted Frank. “Like the exploratory fire found in women like Sacajawea, Hedy Lamar, Amelia Earhart, and men like Lewis and Clark, John Fremont, Matthew Henson, Charles Lindbergh, and the more contemporary Elon Musk”.

The White House petition needs 25,000 signatures by October 31st in order to get desk time with President Barack Obama.  So far approximately 800 signatures are needed in order to reach its goal.

The concept of Columbus Day as an occasion to commemorate the explorer’s arrival in the Americas is viewed differently in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Countries like Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala observe the Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) on October 12th as a celebration of all the ethnic and cultural influences that have made the Americas so unique.  In Venezuela, meanwhile, the Día de la Raza was replaced in 2002 with the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) while Costa Rica observes the Día de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures).

Video Source– CBS News Video
Online Sources –, Discovery News,,, Roots & Wings International

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