Credit: The Times, Howard Simmons, Getty Images

We were taught a rhyme in school, “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

You remember, right?

We were taught that the pilgrims broke bread with the “Indians,” the “natives.”

We were told that America was discovered.

We were told that America was ours.

We were told about the people that came before.

The savages. The uncivilized. The red man.

We were told that America was ripe for the taking. We were told that we took it. We were told that we deserved it.

We were told that we needed to take it. We were told that the sun followed us as we marched, brought God to a heathen land.

We were told we brought God to America.

He landed on Hispaniola. He brought God to Hispaniola. He brought Spain to Hispaniola. He brought the cross to Hispaniola.

Smoke rose from the island, clouded the air.

Hands left like seeds on the ground, chains cut into their necks.

Gold and silver — this was what brought God to America.

Columbus brought God to America, Columbus brought the people to God.

How can you open St. Peter’s Gate without any hands?

God sent more pilgrims to America, God sent Americans to America.

They traded with the people, they warred with the people, they brought God to the people.

Heaven was full of people from America.

They made the people walk, they made the people bleed. They sang sweet soothing songs about the needless pains we bear, about trials and temptations. They sang songs about how the meek shall inherit the Earth.

They sang songs about the peacemakers.

“I will fight no more forever.”

Joseph was sent to Egypt by God, Joseph was sent to Washington by Washington.

They gave Columbus to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, God-fearing people from a war-torn land.

They told them he was their man, the discoverer of their new home.

They hung 11 of them in New Orleans in 1891. They massacred more than 150 natives a year before.

“Wounded Knee.”

What are we teaching our children now? Do they repeat that same rhyme?

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

The tricolor is marched triumphantly down the avenues to the beat of drums, war drums.

Green for freedom, white for purity, red for love.

Green for the land, white for the people, red for the blood spilled.

That is the Italian flag in America — that is the Italian flag if we honor our gifted patron saint.

That is the Italian flag if we honor the man who brought God to America.

Let us have Garibaldi instead, he fought alongside the people of America. He brought freedom to America.

Hatuey lived on Hispaniola, he saw Columbus bring God to his people. He fled to Cuba, he warned them of what was coming. They fought in vain, they fought like Americans.

They fought for their home.

They executed Hatuey, they tied him to a stake and burned him alive.

They asked him if he would accept Christ as his savior before the savior’s followers sent him to paradise.

He asked them if there were Spaniards in Heaven.

They said there were.

He said he would rather go to Hell, for there could never be people there as cruel as God’s soldiers.

Smoke rose from the island, clouded the air.

And the Knights of Columbus march on.

And the Knights of Columbus march on.

Agitator, banned book list hopeful, failed politician, suit wearer, soul music fanatic.