It is no secret that there is an ongoing controversy about the Columbus Monument in Scotch Plains being removed. Once protestors band together against something like this, it is far too easy to forget the true meaning. I challenge you to take on a different perspective, and to understand why the monument needs to remain intact.
One of the many reasons history is important is to remind us of past mistakes, to ensure that we learn from them and continue to improve as a nation. Although the removal of a hand statue may not appear as “rewriting history”, between the outlash against Mount Rushmore, monuments of our founding fathers, and flag burning, the country is headed in an alarming direction. It is common knowledge that Columbus’ treatment of the indigenous people who lived here before was not up to America’s current standards by any means.
Let me remind you that his personal discovery of America, and his treatment of the indigenous people, do not define us as a nation. They only represent the start of a country that has grown tremendously since then. If we start to remove the monument and relevance of every historian who has made a mistake we will be left with a country that cannot claim to have made any progress. The fact that we can recognize the way the original settlers of America treated Native Americans as wrong is proof that the mistake truly has helped us to learn. It is not a symbol of white supremacy or hate towards Native Americans, it is a reminder that since the birth of our country we have gained so much wisdom and learned to respect other cultures.
To continue, it is also common knowledge that Christopher Columbus didn't really discover America. However, there is no way to deny that without his findings there’s a chance none of us would be here right now. His voyage defined the whole future of The United States, and all of the amazing things that have occurred in our country since then followed his arrival. The statue proudly sits among other monuments, such as one dedicated to Korean War veterans, one in honor of Vietnam veterans, and one dedicated to the lives lost as a result of the plane crashes on 9/11. All four monuments represent a step in America that has brought us to where we are today. Christopher Columbus and his discovery regardless of what he did following it - paved the way for 328.2 million people who are currently living freely in our country.
Instead of continuing this effort of rewriting and erasing history, those who want to make a change should be more focused on making history that we will be proud to look back on in the years to come. Let us, as a town and a country, look to the future. Let us make so much progress that the mistakes of the past will cause no distress, but be a mere memory that reminds us of how far we have come. Let us continue to preserve and be proud of our history, instead of picking it apart.
Let the monument of Columbus live on, sign the Preserve The Columbus Monument petition and do your part to preserve American History.
Scotch Plains, NJ