Columbus, Ohio, the largest U.S. city named in honor of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, announced Monday it will no longer celebrate the federal holiday and will instead give workers a day off on Veterans Day in November.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther said the decision to end the long-standing holiday was meant to kill two birds with one stone.
"We chose to celebrate Veterans Day instead of Columbus Day. The City of Columbus has 110,000 veterans who have served our country. We thought it was important to honor them," Robin Davis, media relations director for the mayor's office, wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner Monday.
"As for budget, we try to be good stewards of taxpayer money. We did not think adding an additional holiday was prudent. We negotiated with our various unions to have Veterans Day as a holiday," she added.
As a result of the change, the capital city's 8,500 workers will report to work as normal Monday despite President Trump's Saturday proclamation to honor Columbus's 1492 arrival in the Americas.
Cities including San Francisco and Cincinnati, as well as the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon have chosen in recent years not to observe Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. Some have renamed it Indigenous Peoples Day, Discoverers' Day, even Native American Day to honor those who lived in what is now America prior to its being discovered by Columbus's three ships.
Columbus Day was celebrated by former President Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to honor the 400-year anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the Bahamas. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt deemed it a national holiday.
The White House called the federal holiday a chance to "acknowledge the important contributions of Italian Americans to our country’s culture, business, and civic life."
"Columbus’s daring journey marked the beginning of centuries of transatlantic exploration that transformed the Western Hemisphere. On Columbus Day, we commemorate the achievements of this skilled Italian explorer and recognize his courage, will power, and ambition — all values we cherish as Americans," according to the White House statement.