October 8, 2018: Fly your flags for Columbus Day, or Indigenous Americans Day

October 8, 2018

It’s another controversy over flying flags, but the flag itself isn’t involved.

U.S. Flag Code specifies that we fly the flag for Columbus Day, but on the rather-new legal day, the second Monday in October. For about a hundred years before that, tradition and law put it on October 12.

So my flag is flying. Many others fly, too. I hope you remembered to post yours.

Parade in Westerly, Rhode Island/Pawcatuck, Connecticut, for Columbus Day 2018.

Parade in Westerly, Rhode Island/Pawcatuck, Connecticut, for Columbus Day 2018. “Several youngsters enjoy the tractors entered in the 71st annual Westerly-Pawcatuck Columbus Day Parade on Sunday. Jackie Turner, Special to The Sun.” Westerly Sun photo.

Columbus Day history tells us the celebration is intended, in part, to offset ugly bias against Italian immigrants in America. Good for that.

But we remember and acknowledge a lot more about history than a century ago. Today, in many quarters Columbus is viewed as a villainous conqueror, an explorer who brought slavery and misery to indigenous Americans.

And there are protests against Columbus in some places. In other places, officials celebrate Indigenous Americans Day, instead of Columbus Day. South Dakota, Columbus, Ohio, and Berkeley and Los Angeles California celebrate indigenous Americans.

There is no doubt that Columbus’s explorations set off several centuries of intense culture clash, resource exploitation and genocide. Probably no one could have foreseen the results. It is also true that in the Americas today modern cultures contribute and lead the world in many fields.

Maybe we should rename it “Celebrate History (and be very sure you know what the history is!) Day.”

Fly your flag, welcome the opportunity to discuss history.

Do you agree?


  • Navy Day is October 27, the next date listed in the Flag Code to fly the flag.

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