Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Holiday of Controversy

This Day in History: Columbus Reaches the New World

Posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus
Credit: Wikipedia
Christopher Columbus is credited as the discoverer of the New World on October 12, 1492, which was 522 years ago. To honor his accomplishments, Columbus Day in the United States is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which falls this year on October 13. Through the centuries controversies have arisen where many researchers and historians have debated the accuracy of such acclamation thus leaving this holiday questionable.

Columbus did sail across the Atlantic but was he the first? 

More accurately he was the first European to explore the Americas SINCE the Viking explorers from Scandinavia set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century. In addition, the land was already populated by indigenous peoples, who had 'discovered' the Americas thousands of years before. 

As a result, not all parts of the United States celebrate Columbus Day. It is not a public holiday in some states such as California, Oregon, Nevada and Hawaii. Moreover, Native Americans’ Day is celebrated in South Dakota, while Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated in Berkeley, California.

The Nina = The Most Historically Accurate Replica
of a Columbus Ship Ever Built

Regardless who was first, the voyage across the Atlantic was not aboard a luxury ocean liner nor speedily like a jet plane.
'Twas not an easy or pleasant voyage across raging perilous seas. Ferocious winds, tormenting waves crushed the hull and tore at the sails. There was no room below decks for the ordinary sailor, so sleeping commenced on the open deck. Seasickness was not uncommon nor succumbing to death under immense pain. Conditions were harsh but willingness prevailed: hope, faith and courage paved the way to the New World for this was only the beginning.
 "We ate only old biscuit reduced to powder, all full of worms and stinking of the urine that the rats made on it. And we drank water that was yellow and stinking." ~Antonio Pigatetta 1500s, a sailor aboard the Magellan.
 Echoes of the Sea

The sea, which soars, soothes, threatens and shifts
Emanates life as an unanswered question
If it had lips, it would speak effortlessly
And share untold stories from every nation

Oh, sea, mighty warrior of all times
Let loose your triumphant vessels
And relinquish the esteemed memories
Once washed away like the sandcastles

The sea, whose entrails reflect symmetrical images
Imitates the snow-capped peak of Fujiyama
If it were a stage, its ghosts would be the stars
In an infinite unpredictable melodrama

Oh, sea, unforgiving and yet calm
Lay to rest those who died in your wake
Relinquish troubling tales of mystery and woe
That haunt those souls you once did take

The sea, in all its fierceness and serenity
Sustains any argument with the bravest of the brave
Changes its moods with the rolling tide
And whispers of the past echo with each wave
©2004 Echoes
Sharla Lee Shults

Related Videos
Columbus' modern ships were fast and strong enough for the rough Atlantic seas.
After 60 days and no sign of land, Columbus' doubtful crew wanted to turn back.
During his fourth voyage Columbus was forced to take refuge in a cove off the shores of Hispaniola.

Since its discovery over 500 years ago a myriad of awakenings have shaped America, the land and the people. What are your visions of hope to see America remains strong?


Additional Holiday Celebration: Native American Day