Readers Write: Celebrating our Italian-American Heritage on Columbus Day

Today is not about a courageous explorer that lived over 500 years ago.

It isn’t about the injustices that mankind has been responsible for and continues to create; it isn’t about pointing fingers or showing off; winning or losing, being right or wrong, it’s about a people being proud and celebrating their heritage.

Most all Italians in America should be allowed to have this day and not made to feel as if they have perpetrated any cruelties.

As an Italian-American, I hold my head up high when I think of what my parents left behind and endured to come to this country and give their children a future. It wasn’t easy, they were often ridiculed, but they worked hard and made sure my brothers and I stayed in school and away from anyone or anything that may lead us astray.

Don’t get me wrong, I know of the history of the Roman Empire, the Mafia both in Italy and in this country.

These are not the reasons to be proud of our heritage, rather, family, deep morals, a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed and see our children succeed are.

The bible says “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” We are all sinners in one way or another.

We all have a moral ledger with pluses and minuses which is why we should not judge the past too harshly, nor think that we would be here without it.

Columbus lived during a much different time than we live today, yet at the root mankind was much the same as today; capable of greed, hatred and atrocities towards their fellow man.

Why, because we are imperfect and we shall always be so. The most we could strive to do is live more positive days than negative, help one another and protect our planet. We should learn from our mistakes and make the future better by doing so.

Today let us not cast stones at Christopher Columbus, his Italian background or the Spanish flag he sailed under. Instead, let us celebrate his courage, forgive his indiscretions and give the Italian people their day to hold their heads up high.

There are many other Italians that have given so much to our world, inventors, musicians, artists, philosophers etc. Do we have a day for each of them?

Let us ask God as our good prayer says, to forgive our trespasses, as we forgive others. The past is gone, we can make a better future by emphasizing the positives and asking for forgiveness while we lay the negatives to rest.

 Michael Cascio

New Hyde Park


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The Island Now

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