About 50 residents and dignitaries turned out Monday morning for a celebration to honor Christopher Columbus.
Father Thomas Walsh opened the ceremony at the monument on the corner of Main, Broad and North Streets with a benediction.
“Bless Christopher Columbus. A hero who discovered the new world,” said Father Walsh. “Give us the spirit of adventure on this day. May all that we do help make this world a better place.”
The New Britain High School Marching Band performed several songs including the National Anthem.
Representative of the seven organizations who sponsored the ceremonies took green, white and red wreaths (representing the Italian flag) and put them in front of the Columbus Monument.
They included the Angelo Custode Club represented by Michael Castro; the Generale Ameglio represented by Paul Burgio and Paul Gilobrito; Italian Fraternal Society represented by Frank DeFelice; Angelo Tomasso Lodge Sons of Italy by President Terry Crescimano; New Britain Unico Foundation by Peter Denuzze; New Britain Sons of Italy Angelo Tomasso Foundation and the Sacred Heart Society.
“Many of you have recalled over the past few years the effort to eliminate Columbus Day as a national holiday,” said Attorney Nick DeNigris, who was master of ceremonies of the event. “There are revisionists of United States history that feel it should no longer be honored. I think it’s a day like today that all of us of Italian heritage can be here to honor this man who opened the west for the Europeans….to think of eliminating it as a national holiday would be a real tragedy…what he has contributed will never be forgotten.”
Former Mayor Lucian Pawlak said he designed Columbus Park and was glad to see it used for the Columbus Day event. He said the intersection used to be one of the most dangerous in the City.
“We restored Columbus and stories had it that I sold him for scrap. I used to get calls about Columbus once a month,” recalled Pawlak. “I’m just happy so many people turned out today. I’m very proud of this little park because I had a lot to do with it.”
State Rep. Theresa Gerratana said, “I’m really happy to be here. Christopher Columbus wasn’t just someone who discovered the United States of America. He established the new world….he didn’t just come here. He came here and he stayed here. That is the significance.”
Refreshments were available at Father Malley Hall at St. Ann’s Church after the ceremony.