Columbus is a hero, not because he beat the Chinese or the Norse, but because you and I, if we were sent back in time, wouldn't have stepped foot on his boat 500 years ago if we were told he was just another sailor leaving a western European port, hoping to hit land on the other side of the world, and not likely to do so for at least 30 days.
And had we gone with him, we would not want to have stayed with him. We would not have wanted to live for any length of time in the New-but-terribly-uncivilized-World as Columbus attempted to bring the natives under the flag of Spain and western civilization.
Most people today consider the savages "noble" and Columbus an "oppressor" because he believed his religion was true and the native superstitions false. One of the links below says Columbus was a true "religious radical."
Columbus was born and raised in an age that believed governments were divinely ordained. Columbus and his age were wrong. But today's atheistic government commits more atrocities than Columbus is even rumored to have committed. More people are imprisoned for on-violent offenses by secular governments in the U.S. than Columbus may have conscripted for service in his government.
Eventually, though late in life, Columbus began to see that governing was contrary to his Christian faith. He renounced the uniform of the Admiral and wore the more humble attire of a Franciscan monk. (Last year I said "Minorite." This year I'm following the entry at Wikipedia. The picture drawn by historians of no other figure is as utterly contradictory -- in both details and the big picture -- as Columbus'.)
I still believe that Christian civilization is better than savagery -- or the Harvard-credentialed New World Order.
Columbus Day 2007 nearly 50 fascinating links.
Columbus Day 2008
Christopher Columbus Institute for Discovery and Exploration™
American Creation: The "Lost Tribes" in the "New World"
American Creation: Should We Celebrate Columbus Day? Notes one historian's report that Columbus wanted to convert the American natives to Christianity so that they could help fight the Muslims.
A commenter adds, Converting the savages to Christianity was certainly a noble goal for any believer then or now, and the sword of Islam was definitely a real concern, and was no doubt feared just as much as world domination by Nazism or Communism were in the past century.