Capitol’s monument to Christopher Columbus turns 100

Monday, October 8, join the Capitol’s Columbus Celebration, beginning at 10:45 a.m.

Nearly 300,000 parade watchers lined Pennsylvania Avenue, from the White House past Union Station. It was June 8, 1912 and President William Howard Taft and other dignitaries watched the unveiling of the Columbus Memorial at Washington’s Union Station.

One-hundred years later the National Columbus Celebration Association honors the memorial’s anniversary. Like it does every year on Columbus Day, the association will celebrate with a 90-minute program at the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Washington, D.C. The U.S. military honor guard and military band; uniformed Knights of Columbus; diplomats;  fraternal, civic, service and patriotic societies will be in attendance.

Beginning with a musical prelude at 10:45 a.m., the event will include the annual wreath presentations. This year, OSIA’s Grand Lodge of Virginia will be presenting a wreath.

Other participating OSIA lodges include Roma Lodge #254 of Virginia Beach, Va. and George Washington Lodge #2038 of Fairfax, Va.

Many who travel through Washington’s Union Station daily may overlook the fountain, but the memorial is paramount to U.S. history.

“It was a huge deal to have this memorial,” said Steve Upton, secretary for the National Columbus Association, speaking about the time when the memorial was erected.

A few hundred people are expected to attend this year’s event.

Recognition of Columbus Day as the second Monday in October began in 1971, after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1968 proclamation.

Written by OSIA National Office Assistant, Carol Cummings.

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