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Newtown Ignores Columbus Day

To the Editor:

I am writing this on Columbus Day, celebrated throughout Connecticut, but not in Newtown. There is a parade today in Bridgeport. Another parade in Bethel. The Sycamore will serve brunch with Italian music playing in the background. A quick check of local web sites shows me that Bethel, Brookfield,. Danbury and most Connecticut schools are closed. In New York City, the Columbus Day Parade will be marching in Manhattan! Yet in Newtown, Columbus Day passes with no recognition.  Schools are open and parades cannot even be attended by locals.

We all know that the Christopher Columbus story represents a symbolic celebration of Italian-Americans. Yes, the fact-based issues surrounding the “discovery” of America raise questions about the original recognition of Columbus, and that the Native Americans were not “discovered,” they were the true “owners” of this land.  However, the unilateral elimination of Columbus Day as a symbolic holiday honoring the rich heritage of Italian-Americans, by Newtown, is disturbing to those of us with Italian heritage. My mother was a "Pirrello," and of Sicilian decent, and I was raised with the Italian influence, including the importance of family and feast ... and heritage!

I am wondering how and why Columbus Day has been eliminated from Newtown?  What day was eliminated from the school calendar when Columbus Day was added as an in-school day?  Elimination of Columbus Day, the day that celebrates Italian-Americans, is a curious anomaly in Newtown, CT.

E 'l'onore di patrimonio che definisce l'America!

Sincerely,

Richard English

3 Curry Drive, Newtown                    October 14, 2013

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