434 ARW celebrates Columbus Day

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In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

That rhyme has helped people of all ages remember a key milestone in North American history, a milestone which Grissom recognizes as the base celebrates Columbus Day today.

After leading a fleet of three ships on a 10-month voyage in a quest to reach lucrative trade markets in Asia, Christopher Columbus and his European crew landed on an island the Bahamas he named San Salvador.

While Columbus maintained that he had reached Asia until his death, his accidental discovery a new pair of continents led to the settlement and colonization of the Americas.

Columbus Day has different meanings for different people, but the first recorded celebration in the United States was held in New York in 1792 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Columbus' landing.

It was 100 years later that President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation, "recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America."

Since that proclamation, school programs, plays and community festivities have been organized across the country in celebration of Columbus Day.

However, the day was not made a national holiday until President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated Columbus Day, then celebrated October 12, as such 1937.

Since 1971, when Columbus Day was designated the second Monday in October, it has been celebrated as a federal holiday, with government agencies and banks closing in observance.

Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command, as well as three Army Reserve units and a Marine Corps Reserve communication detachment.

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