VINELAND Columbus Day in Vineland isn just a day to recognize explorers

sailing the ocean blue. It also a celebration of the community Italian heritage.

On the front steps of city hall, local politicians and community members spoke of Brandon Browner Jersey the Italian spirit that is found throughout Vineland.

you just go through the phone book, you will see that everybody has an Italian last name, said Vincent Marolda, president of the Sicilian American Club and the Italian Cultural Foundation.

Being an Italian, Christopher Columbus serves as a cultural icon.

always nice to identify ourselves with Christopher Columbus because we both come from the same place, Marolda said. same way he came to America in 1492, there were a lot of Italian Americans in the beginning of the last century. at the event spoke about the Italian identity just as much as they spoke about Christopher Columbus.

the American story, said state Sen. Jeff Van Drew. the story of your heritage, of our heritage, of how we work so hard to make what America is but as we do that we must always remember the traditions, the values and the faith that we love so much. you go back in the history of Italians more than 2,000 years if you inventory all the Darrelle Revis Kids Jersey great achievements human kind, you find the ancestors of ItalianAmericans, said Sam Fiocchi, Cumberland County Freeholder.

There was one lone protester at the event a chief of the Taino Tribal Council of Jatibonicu. He stood outside City Hall wearing all black and carrying a modified Puerto Rican flag, which bears a member of the Taino tribe standing proud.

is the day I come to celebrate with the Italian people but I don come to celebrate Columbus, said Chief Pedro Guanieyu Torres. represent the American Indian people here in a protest of Columbus because Columbus never ever discovered anything. explains that he is a descendent from the Native tribe that first greeted the explorer on his storied 1492 voyage. Brandon Browner Youth Jersey

did not discover anything, we discovered him, Torres said. fed him and we took care of him and his men. That is historic truth. he greets you, Torres grips at your wrist instead of shaking your hand.

is the way, originally, we shook hands with Columbus and our ancestors put their hand out as a custom, he said. to spirit and blood to blood we are related. That what that means. to one speaker at the event, though, the impact of Columbus was much bigger than accidentally finding a land mass while trying to reach Asia.

were people in America before the Vikings and Columbus, said Dr. Frank DeMaio, member of the Italian Cultural Foundation and amateur historian. say that Columbus discovered America because he discovered it for the Europeans, which then changed the history of the world forever. the Columbus Day celebration at City Hall, the public were invited to the North Italy Club for lunch.

Hidden in the back kitchen, wearing an apron stained with tomato sauce, was Vineland City Council Vice President Paul Spinelli.

of Italian descent, it an honor to do this kind of thing, he said.

Spinelli and Anthony Fanucci, City Council President, helped make the pasta at the event. The two are Darrelle Revis Youth Jersey trying to carry on a cultural heritage, which at first rested on the shoulders of the previous generation of ItalianAmericans. Part of that heritage, for Vineland, is Columbus Day.