Columbus Day in Washington, DC

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    National Celebation of Columbus Day in Washington, DC

    Columbus Day in Washington, DC. © Miller Taylor

    Washington, DC honors and celebrates the achievements of Christopher Columbus each year with a national wreath laying ceremony on Columbus Day. Embassies of Italy and Spain and the general public lay wreaths at the base of the Columbus Memorial Statue located at Union Station. The memorial is a large fountain with carvings of a native American, an elderly European, the figure of "Discovery" on the prow of a ship, and a globe. See the following photos of the Columbus Day ceremony and learn more about the annual event.

    Date: October 10, 2016, 11 a.m.

    Memorial Location: Union Station Plaza, Massachusetts Ave. & 1st St. Washington DC See a map

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    Knights of Columbus Pay Tribute to Christoper Columbus

    Knights of Columbus. Photo © Miller Taylor
    Columbus Day is celebrated the 2nd Monday in October. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) is credited with "discovering" America in 1492. The Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain and Statue in Washington DC were dedicated June 8, 1912. It has been the focal point for yearly celebrations since that time to honor this Italian navigator and discoverer. The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal benefit society, participate in the annual event.
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    Flags at the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain

    Columbus Day in Washington, DC. Photo © Miller Taylor

    Since the dedication of the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in 1912, dozens of organizations have participated in the Columbus Day celebrations including divisions and battalions of the Army and Navy, Knights of Columbus, representatives of Italian societies and members of the African American Knights of Pythias.

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    Knights of Columbus; Columbus Day Event

    Knights of Columbus. Photo © Miller Taylor
    The Knights of Columbus was formed in 1882 to provide a social and intellectual fellowship among its members and their families by promoting economic stability through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief programs. Today there are more than 1.8 million members around the world.
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    U.S. Marine Band Perform

    U.S. Marine Band. Photo © Miller Taylor

    The U.S. Marine Band plays patriotic tunes during the Columbus Day event in Washington DC.  Established by act of Congress in 1798, the U.S. Marine Band is the oldest of the nation's military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States. The band travels across the country and performs at approximately 500 events per year. 

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    US Marine Color Guard Presentation

    US Marine Color Guard. Photo © Miller Taylor

    The US Marine Color Guard participates in the annual Columbus Day event in Washington DC. The Color Guard is a four-member formation that renders military honor by providing ceremonial support from the Marine Corps. It consists of the senior Marine and Color Sergeant carrying the National Colors, a Marine carrying the Marine Corps Colors, and two rifle bearers. 

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    National Park Service Rangers

    Photo © Miller Taylor

    National Park Service rangers speak to the public during the Christopher Columbus wreath laying ceremony. Representatives of the federal government agency that manages national monuments participates in the annual event. 

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    Columbus Day Protests in Washington, DC

    Columbus Day Protests in Washington, DC. Photo © Miller Taylor
    In Washington DC, American citizens protest just about everything. Some people question the contributions of Christopher Columbus and show up at the annual event to express their freedom of speech and petition.