SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Columbus Day has deep-rooted traditions not only in our region but across the country, and it is a day that has fallen under more and more scrutiny over the years.
Growing up, textbooks painted Christopher Columbus as the “explorer that discovered America” and we learned about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.
Recently, Columbus has become a controversial figure and his holiday has come under fire.
Joe Macciocco, president of the Columbus Day Association of Lackawanna County, is troubled by these recent developments.
“It does concern us because that’s the way we were brought up.” “it’s like if you’re brought up with a certain religion and you follow that religion. That’s what we follow, Christopher Columbus.”
Statues have been vandalized. Calls have been made to abolish Columbus Day.
Chris Boone with the Lackawanna County NAACP understands the frustration but doesn’t condone all of the actions taken in recent years.
“That’s a part of history the day has already been established and all that good stuff. However, teach it properly, so that everybody knows the truth. And that’s what we’re basically all trying to get to.”
Many have a strong sense of Italian heritage in northeast PA and will continue to honor it.
“Again, it’s just people just trying to start up something that’s not there.” Macciocco says.
While there are those who are on the path to take down the holiday, some are calling for level heads and introspection.
“Yes, the statue was put here and in the beginning. It had good intentions and all that stuff. But this is what we found out. I think it’s very important to preserve our history, as damaging as it may be, as offensive as it may be” said Boone.
Many across the region have or will be marking the day with wreath laying ceremonies, but larger events like joining in the annual parade in New York City and the like, canceled amid coronavirus concerns.