Holidays seem to fall into two categories: ones we care about and ones for which we get a paid day off from work. I'm surprised how little overlap there is. The ones we care about have special customs for celebration - sometimes far removed from the original reason for the holiday.
New Year's Day is a paid day off. I'm unaware of any common celebration ritual tho' I imagine many people sleep late to recover from New Year's Eve celebrations. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are paid days off with important meals to celebrate. Where do Columbus Day and Washington's birthday fit in this pattern? No traditional meal. No parade (except in NY). No presents.
I don't know how much of my mental image of Columbus sailing for the New World is myth. Still I think setting off in a sailboat on a trip expected to take months is pretty admirable. So, Columbus is somewhere on my list of people about whom we should know enough to have a certain amount of respect. But couldn't we have the day after Thanksgiving off instead? Or Halloween? Or even Spring Equinox?