Syracuse Residents Fight for Columbus Statue as Mayor Plans Removal: ‘Its Our Monument’

A statue of Christoper Columbus stands before the Onanadaga County Courthouse in Syracuse NY
Getty Images/PapaBear

Responses to Columbus Day have grown more contentious as the years go by, and some argue it represents the “evils of Western imperialism,” the Daily Wire reported Monday.

“But while Columbus Day and monuments to the Italian explorer have fallen on hard times, celebrations of the day are still strong in some cities, particularly in those with citizens who have a strong connection to their Italian heritage,” the outlet said.

One community is Syracuse, New York, mostly thanks to the advocacy of the Columbus Monument Corporation, the article continued:

This year, they expect thousands of attendants at their Columbus Day festivities, which included a Saturday mass and the Monday wreath-laying at the historic Syracuse Columbus monument. Officially dedicated in 1934, Syracuse’s Columbus monument was sculpted in Florence and constructed with stone from Italy, according to Anthony Ilacqua, a member of the corporation who spoke with The Daily Wire.

He said many fail to understand its meaning or the connection some locals have to it, adding the monument was a significant part of how Italian Americans who immigrated to America at the turn of the 20th century, one being his grandfather, made places such as Syracuse their home.

Posted by Columbus Monument Corporation on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

“It was an outgrowth of pride in their national heritage and their Italian identity and their love for this country. That’s really what it was about,” he commented.

In October 2020, Mayor Ben Walsh (I-NY) planned to remove and relocate the Columbus statue in downtown Syracuse and rename Columbus Circle, Syracuse.com reported.

But the Monument Corporation has worked to preserve the statue that was created and paid for by several residents’ ancestors.

Original B&W colorized by one of our supporters. Beautiful! Artist Baldi on the left, with wire frame of the #Syracuse…

Posted by Columbus Monument Corporation on Tuesday, October 5, 2021

“This decision is based on the fact that we can honor our Italian American community without focusing on a statue that has become the source of division over decades and overshadowed the original intent of the monument,” Walsh told the Daily Wire.

“This space should be both a tribute to Italian Americans and a place of healing at which we celebrate our shared accomplishments,” he added.

However, Ilacqua insisted the monument should not be viewed as divisive.

“This monument is very much a part of our family heritage. It wasn’t put up by unknown people in the past. We know who built it. We know who sculpted it, who raised the money,” he stated. “We know who put it up. It’s very much our monument. We take pride in it and celebrate it every year.”

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