Son of man who petitioned Congress to create Columbus Day weighs in on the holiday and its criticism

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – When Columbus Day comes around many people celebrate the holiday, but it also stirs up debate.

Fran Lucca, is the son of the man responsible for Columbus Day being a national holiday, Mariano Lucca.

“I would like them to remember Columbus as the man he was. He was a great discoverer and a visionary,” Lucca said.

During the 1960’s, Mariano successfully petitioned Congress to make Columbus Day, a national holiday. It was declared a federal holiday in 1971.

Lucca said his late father would be upset to see people trying to remove the holiday and monuments in memory of the Italian explorer.

Many historians argue that Columbus wasn’t the first person to discover the New World and that the timeline doesn’t even match up.

Lucca replied, “Mariano many times, he’d say well St. Brendan of Ireland was first to come to America. My dad said ‘Yup he probably did.’ Well then how about the Vikings? Leif Eriksson? He probably did. But Columbus came and he made it stick.”

The Town of Newstead, Lewiston, and the Village of Akron celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day on Monday.

Lucca said if his dad were alive, he’d probably celebrate with them. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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