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Columbus Day

It is Columbus Day, and as I write this I realize I do not know the history of that holiday. Lest you think I did not attend elementary school in this country, let me assure you I know who Christopher Columbus was. I just do not remember what I was taught about how a holiday came about; albeit one that is not recognized by very many businesses as a holiday.

As we have all heard, “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” He and 90 crew members, including a translator, three physicians, servants for each captain, a secretary and an accountant, sailed in three ships not much bigger than today’s party boats. If you don’t believe me, visit the life-size replicas in Galveston.

Anyway, they made their first landing before noon on October 12. The first Columbus Day celebration was in 1792 in New York City. One hundred years later, President Harrison suggested that all Americans celebrate this 400th anniversary.

Starting in about 1920, it began to be a regular annual celebration in many states and in 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt set October 12 as the federal holiday. In 1971 the legal holiday was changed to the second Monday in October. This information about Columbus Day was found in the World Book Encyclopedia (c. 2008)

In addition to Columbus’ landing, here are a few other notable historical events which took place around October 12. (source: The History Channel’s web site)

— Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947

— General Robert E. Lee died October 12, 1870

— Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize October 12, 1970

— Charlie Rich protested John Denver’s win as Entertainer of the Year at the CMA awards show by setting the announcement page on fire by flicking his bic on October 13, 1975.

— The Continental Congress authorized the first naval force on October 13, 1775.

Fall-der-All is coming on Saturday. Start with a good breakfast cooked and served by the Friends of the Library at the Community Center from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. It’s all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee. Then while visiting the many booths, stop at the one hosted by the library’s Teen Council for a fun game and some face painting.

One of the most popular books in our collection, at least for the kids, is the annual Guinness World Records. It seems the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs may be in the next edition as they set the world record for stadium noise. They hit 137.5 decibels beating the old record of 136.6 decibels set by the fans of the Seattle Sehawks earlier this season. (Source: Kansas City Morning Star, October 14, 2013.)

Hope to see you around the Van Alstyne Public Library.

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