About the National Christopher Columbus Association
The most prominent commemorative figure of Christopher Columbus in the nation's capital, the only U.S. jurisdiction named for Columbus, stands in a marble fountain setting in a plaza in front of one of the great landmark buildings in the city , Union Station opposite the U.S. Capitol. Dedicated in 1912 before a crowd of nearly 20,000 individuals including President Taft and cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, members of the U.S. Congress, thousands of Knights of Columbus, and others, it has been a focal point for annual celebrations to honor the great navigator and discoverer. Over the decades the celebrations were held by various organizations. In 1934 Congress authorized and requested the President to issue an annual Columbus Day proclamation, and in 1968 declared Columbus Day a public holiday, commencing in 1971 .
After that time there was a gradual evolution of planning for the annual Columbus Day event, which involved the Knights of Columbus, Italian American organizations, U.S. military organizations, the diplomatic corps--especially Italy, Spain, and The Bahamas --and the National Park Service. In 1989 these efforts culminated in the organization of The Washington Columbus Celebration Association, which has been responsible since then for the yearly Columbus Day event. It was renamed the National Columbus Celebration Association in 1999, and in 2014, after a lengthy discussion and a decision to broaden its mission, it was renamed once again, becoming the National Christopher Columbus Association. It is governed by a board of directors elected by its general membership , with officers chosen annually by the board.
Mission of the Association
The Association seeks to honor not only the memory of Columbus and his historic achievement in linking the Old World and the New, but also the higher values that motivated and sustained him in his efforts and trials. These virtues--his faith, the courage of his convictions, dedication to purpose, perseverance in effort, professional excellence, and boldness in facing the unknown --are as appropriate today as they were in his time. The Association invites individuals and organizations who identify with these purposes to join the membership . Members reside in about a third of the states, and each year a number of wreath presenters representing national patriotic societies fly to Washington for the ceremonies. The newly-established category of national patron provides a way for people to help honor the memory of Columbus if they do not choose to become regular members of the Association. (View the insignia of the of the Association.)
Other Organizations Involved
The two organizations whose representatives were most instrumental in bringing the Association into being were the Knights of Columbus (K. of C.) and the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) . The celebrations were and are conducted in cooperation with the National Park Service. Later two additional national organizations became more intimately involved in the celebrations: the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF ) and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), which collaborate in the sponsorship and administration of the national student essay contest on Columbus. The reading of the winning essay by its writer is a feature of the annual celebrations at the national Columbus Memorial. NIAF also provided for some social functions in connection with the annual celebrations. In addition, the Washington-area Lido Civic Club became involved in providing for the printing of quality covers for the annual program books, and in co-sponsoring (with the Knights of Columbus of DC) the annual religious celebration the Sunday preceding the civic holiday. The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation has since 2002 scheduled their annual awards dinner to follow our Columbus Day ceremonies at the Columbus Memorial. A number of other national patriotic societies (and local branches as well) have also been participating as wreath-presenters sine the mid-1990s, as listed in the program book for each year's celebration.
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National Christopher Columbus Association - 5034 Wisconsin Avenue, NW - Washington, D.C. 20016-4125