Growing up Italian in Union City, Columbus Day always meant a day off from school. It also meant a parade, lots of neighborhood celebrations and great food made by the old ladies of the neighborhood. Boy, could they cook.

For the Italian-Americans, Columbus Day was a time to celebrate the Italian-Americans and the contributions they made to this country. That's why the statues should remain up. If you want to honor indigenous people or anyone else, I totally respect that, but do it on another day.

One of those ladies was the grandmother of my good friend, colleague and "Jersey Guy" Ray Rossi, who wrote a touching tribute to his grandmother Carmella on Facebook.

"She came here in 1928 from a little town outside of Naples called Nola.
She never referred to it as a little town but '’na grande citta' (a big city).

But when she stepped off that boat, I believe it was the SS Roma, with a 15-month-old toddler in tow – she truly was entering ''na grande citta.'
And a brand new chapter had begun with her husband and brother who were already here.

She settled into a new life – and as difficult as it was to shed the old one back in Nola-she embraced this new land Later on, she called for two other brothers to come and settle– and along with raising two other children, one of whom was my father, the family blossomed."

Regardless of how you feel about Christopher Columbus or his day, there are many people in New Jersey, as well as America, for whom this day means something special. To abolish, destroy or "cancel" it goes against the inclusion that society is all about. Perhaps both sides should celebrate this day with a drink or something to eat and maybe get to know each other a little better.

I know some great neighborhoods in New Jersey where you can get something great!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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