Happy Holiday

The state of Missouri is honoring that great Missourian Christopher Columbus today. State offices are closed.

Colorado is the first state to recognize a Columbus day, in 1906. It became a federal holiday in 1937. It was made the second Monday in October in 1971. Various states recognize the day in various ways.

Here in the Center State we pay homage to a guy who didn’t know exactly where he was going, didn’t know where he was when he got there, and did it all of borrowed money.

The Missourinet, however, is not taking the day off because news doesn’t take the day off–although we do take off Sundays, not because of any particular Sabbath loyalty but because we need a least one day a week to heal from six days of covering politics and government.

There have been discussions in the legislature about the value of Columbus say as a state holiday. The idea was kicked around a couple of years ago of eliminating a couple of paid state holidays to save money but it didn’t get enough support.

At the front of the state senate is a big and colorful painted glass window of Hernando De Soto who has a far better relation to Missouri but no holiday. De Soto was the first European explorer to claim the Mississippi River and by extension Missouri for a European power. He wandered around in 1542, a lot of the time in Arkansas. If he was ever in Missouri is was just slightly barely in the bootheel. But he’s just another wandering Spaniard like Columbus. The difference is that De Soto died during that trip.

Perhaps we should have a Jacques Marquette-Louis Jolliet day instead of a Columbus Day. They came down the Mississippi from the north and actually did get to Missouri in 1673. Nine years later, Rene-Robert Cevelier, Sieur de LaSalle and his with his faithful sidekick Henri de Tonti, came to Missouri. A LaSalle & Tonti Day would be better than Columbus Day.

Christopher Columbus oughta go back where he came from.

Oh, wait.

He did.

Then he came back three more times. And never made it to Missouri.

At least we haven’t gone overboard the way Ohio has — and he wasn’t there either. Our capitol is named for Thomas Jefferson.

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