Every year at this time we have to listen to people whining about the horrors of the Age of Discovery, and the plight of indigenous peoples, wiped out by the evil Europeans like Columbus. There are always attacks on Columbus Day, mostly by those who see only the negative impact of Columbus' voyages, missing the fact that his discoveries helped set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the creation of this country. It is impossible to say what would have happened without Columbus, but it's likely that the world would be very different, and there's no good reason to think it would be any better.
Those of us that actually like the United States, and believe it is the greatest country in the world, would rather not have the past altered so that the U.S. never appeared. There's no need to gloss over or minimize the magnitude of the disaster that the Spanish & other European conquests brought to native American peoples. But that's not what Columbus Day is about, or it shouldn't be. We aren't Tainos or Arawaks, we are Americans. That includes those of native American heritage who identify as Americans. We are part of the modern United States which has a its own historical heritage, a history that includes both good and bad. Without Columbus and his remarkable achievements, our heritage and country might not even exist. That is why we celebrate Columbus Day, and should do so without apology.