Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

We celebrated Columbus Day on Monday.

City offices were closed.

County offices were closed.

State offices were closed.

Federal offices were closed.

I’m a bit baffled why.

Fact is, Christopher Columbus didn’t actually discover the land we now call the United States, unless we’re considering Puerto Rico a state, which it isn’t.

A century ago, I can understand the holiday. America was a younger nation. I suppose the year 1492 had a bit more meaning than it does today.

But like all things, sometimes holidays need a little tweaking or even change.

Columbus Day seems like one of those to me. It’s not an insult to Spain — for whom Columbus sailed. It’s not an insult to Italy — the place where Columbus actually called home. For the record, he hailed from Genoa, Italy. He did die in Spain ... flat broke.

In today’s America of political correctness, I’m shocked that our more liberal folks in national elected office have allowed the holiday to stay on the books.

After all, Columbus began the process of killing Native Americans. That’s an undeniable fact. His arrival in North America also ushered in the slavery trade that became a big business less than a century later.

I’m not at odds with Columbus Day because of that.

I’m at odds with Columbus Day because absolutely no one celebrates the holiday except for people employed by the government.

Even schools have classes on Columbus Day.

Seymour’s students were in the classroom Monday.

School events, such as ballgames, were played.

I can’t name a single business that closed, except banks, which don’t have a choice in the matter.

Point is, the holiday really isn’t a holiday.

To that end, I’ve got a solution, so government employees don’t lose the free day.

Above that, every other working man or woman in this country will gain a holiday.

I propose that Columbus Day be replaced with Election Day, observed on the first Tuesday after the first Monday every November.

Annually, that’s always the date for our national elections.

Polls are open in every state, every year. Every four years, there’s a presidential election.

Celebrating Election Day gives every American voter the opportunity to vote without having to go to the polls before work, after work or during a break at work.

After all, isn’t this the impetus for mail-in balloting?

Proponents of solicited ballots gripe about long lines and waits at the polls. Election Day certainly would help curb this issue, wouldn’t it?

Best of all, it celebrates the greatest freedom the United States offers its people — free and open elections.

Election Day wouldn’t be a wasted holiday.

It actually would serve a purpose and be worthy of holiday status.

Food for thought.

* * * * * *

Reading time, two minutes:

• Free video-gaming machines. As in free them to leave Seymour. Forever. Take a close read of our front-page story. It seems the era of Webster County’s convenience- and liquor-store casinos has ended. Good riddance.

• Have you tried Wilma Bread? If you’ve not, you should. It’s Seymour’s version of a New Orleans beignet ... only better. Served up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the new Old Depot Coffee House on North Commercial Street, just north of Seymour City Hall, Wilma Bread is a tasty treat that goes perfectly with one of Old Depot’s coffee blends. Trust me. Try it.

• Orchids to a pair of fall ball coaches at Seymour High School, Glenn Dawson and Jason Duey. Dawson, leader of the softball Tigers, finished the regular season with a new school record for fall victories. Duey posted a 7-7 fall baseball mark with a young crew.

• The Seymour Lions Club officially announced Monday that the annual “Trunk-Or-Treat” celebration will be held on the city square this Halloween. Set for Saturday, Oct. 31, the event will be held as usual, including contests, lots of trunks along the west side of the square and lots of candy for youngsters. There is no cost to attend. This year’s celebration starts at 6 p.m., Seymour Lions Club officials said. It ends at 7 p.m. Mark your calendars.

Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at citizen@webstercountycitizen.com.

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