The National Columbus Day Ceremony took place on Monday, October 8, 2018, at the Christopher Columbus Memorial Plaza across from the Union Station in Washington D.C. Columbus Day is celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October.
The celebration of the achievements of the Italian explorer, navigator and colonist began with music from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band with participation by a US Joint Services Honor Guard and the Knights of Columbus Color Corps. The ceremony included presidential and mayoral proclamations; addresses from the National Park Service and the embassies of Italy, Spain, and the Bahamas; and the Youth Essay Contest winner; followed by wreath presentations. The event was sponsored by the National Christopher Columbus Foundation in coordination with the National Park Service.
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. One of the distinguishing features of this particular event has been the participation of the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus with their traditional tuxedos, capes and chapeaus (or fluffy hats), known as ‘Fourth Degree outfits’. However this distinctive regalia will be a thing of the past. In place of a tuxedo with a black bow tie, members will be wearing a blue blazer, tie and a beret. Both uniforms were on display at this year’s ceremony which is considered a transition year. In his e-mail to the membership a year ago, the Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said the new uniform “is part of a comprehensive and necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men.” (This was not a popular decision, based solely on an informal survey at the event by this writer.)
Columbus’ first voyage to the ‘New World’ which culminated on Oct 12, 1492 is considered one of the most important events in world history. In recent years, his legacy has come under scrutiny as scholars focused more attention to some of the negative aspects of his life such as his abuse of the native populations.
View Jeff Malet’s photos of the National Columbus Day Ceremony by clicking on the photo icons below.