On Monday October 12, 2020, The Sons of Italy had the honor of gathering for the fourth annual Columbus Day ceremony during Italian American heritage month, with UNICO of Southington, Sorella d’ Italia in America, Knights of Columbus and the Calvaness Foundation. Our organizations unanimously voted for the support and partial funding of the Christopher Columbus statue for the town of Southington in 2015 which was ultimately dedicated October 2017. Our unity and support for the statue has not changed or wavered from that time.

Four years ago, Southington showed this great nation during the dedication ceremony that we care about our history. On that day we also showed this great nation that people of different beliefs can respect each other without arguments, violence or graffiti as we see happening much too often in other parts of our country. The respect for each other is what makes the Southington community “second to none”!! Unfortunately, the negative attacks on Columbus and the Columbus Day holiday continue. Just a few months ago, the attempt was made again, to have the Southington statue removed, relocated, placed in storage and some even suggested, it be destroyed all together.

In strong unity from Italian American organizations, the Knights of Columbus and many Southington Community members, it became quite clear, we are among the most important caretakers and supporters of Columbus Day and the Southington Statue. Christopher Columbus legacy has been under attack for quite some time, and historians are now portraying him as the source of much of the evil of the world, rather than acknowledging his great accomplishments and bravery in discovering the New World. As a result, the legacy of Columbus, and of Columbus Day as a holiday, are constantly being attacked by some of the media, politicians and other organized groups. It goes without mentioning, Italian American organizations, the Knights of Columbus, Calvanees foundation and other organizations are some of our town’s greatest resources. An attack on Columbus Day is also an attack on what we stand for and our beliefs. However, we are not distracted by the negativities as we continue to make significant yearly donation to an array of charitable organizations, community programs as well as Scholarships all in support of our community regardless of criticism, race, religious beliefs or economic status. We are a people of unity, support, peace and we love our community.

Although, we can understand and respect the feelings of others about Christopher Columbus and some of the possible acts he may have committed over 529 years ago which, nobody would support with today’s standards. We can only hope that someday, others would understand and respect our feelings about Columbus because, some of the information circulating neglects the many positive aspects of Columbus’ explorations and has placed this information totally out of context. His accomplishments as a daring navigator can go uncontested; he is responsible for the millions of immigrants from all over the world and their pursuit of economic opportunity, religious freedom, and hope for a better life.

It is well documented; Christopher Columbus earned his place in History. History is what it is, “history”, and preserving history is important for the future generations to come. When history is sanitized, it becomes a bad day for everyone. History cannot and should not be judged by today’s standards regardless of who it is or may be. History is what has shaped today’s accomplishments. History shows us, where we came from, where we’ve been, what was accomplished, what was good, bad and sometimes ugly.

It also shows what we’ve become and what we don’t want to be again. At the end of the day, Columbus is still an important part of world history. Columbus was a man of his time, just as many others and they should not be judged by today’s standards. Once history is wiped out, the world is left with nothing. Columbus statues located across the country have been vandalized, ripped down or taken down because of political pressure. It is for these reasons, that the Southington Organization gathered today are to remain the united supporters of the statue of Christopher Columbus and the continued celebration of Columbus Day.

Here, in the great town of Southington Connecticut, we are truly fortunate and grateful that some of our elected officials can see through the negativities, inaccurate information and look at the complete picture of the meaning and significance of Columbus Day and the Columbus Statues that have come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian American contribution to the new world as well as our town of Southington. These strong leaders preserved history in Southington. Our Organizations, membership and community members must not forget what our elected leaders have done not only for us but, most importantly for the community and for, their unwavering support for Law Enforcement. In return we need to continue to support these strong leaders and elect more representatives of the people that support the entire community. An elected leader should be someone who has the confidence, integrity, commitment and ability to make the difficult decision for the good of the town and stand by those decision.