Annual tribute to early civil servant

Monday - 10/8/2012, 2:00am EDT

Each year we pay tribute to one of the boldest government employees in history. Think about it...

When Columbus "discovered" America there were, not to put too fine a point on it, millions of people already living here. He was part-government contractor, part-government employee. As a captain, he would probably be in the civilian equivalent of the SES today.

His mission: Find a shortcut to China and India. So in a sense, he blew it.

But it turned out OK. Most of us who are here today arrived sometime after 1492. Some shortly after, others maybe as recently as this week. But here we are. And this is a federal holiday. For some.

If you work for a bank you are probably off today. If you work for the government there is a good chance you are off today. But not everybody. Since the attacks on New York and D.C. on 9/11, and because of foiled plots elsewhere, America has been on high alert.

Large numbers of government workers (and members of the uniformed services) are on the job today. Government has been a 24/7 operation that many of us take for granted. We don't know where most people are but chances are we would know it if they weren't on duty.

They are not taking the day off so most of us can. So if you are on holiday, enjoy yourself. Spend money. Merchants in your community will thank you.

And if you are working today, thanks. We may not know who you are, what you are doing and where you are doing it. But at least a lot of us know what we don't know, which is a start. So thanks!!


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

Christopher Columbus (hint: that's not even his real name) promised gold to the first member of his crew to spot land.

A sailor named Rodrigo de Triana was the first to see land on October 12, 1492: a small island in the present-day Bahamas Columbus named San Salvador. Poor Rodrigo never got the reward, however: Columbus kept it for himself, telling everyone he had seen a hazy sort of light the night before. He had not spoken up because the light was indistinct.

(Source: Latin American History)


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