CHICAGO (CBS) — I’m a day late, but not too late, because it’s never too late to celebrate Columbus Day, and add to my reasons every year for why we should stop thinking of Italians as godfather gangsters, and remember what they’ve given to the world.

The thoughts and words of Aquinas and Assisi; the canvas and sculpture of Michelangelo and da Vinci; the music of Rossini, Puccini, and Verdi – that’s been sung by Caruso and Pavarotti; and the lyrics of Madonna, Sinatra, and Springsteen.

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The movies of Capra, Coppola and Fellini, and the acting of DiCaprio, De Niro and Pacino.

And the fashion designed by Gucci, Prada and Armani.

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And the home runs hit by DiMaggio and Konerko.

Forget the housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore, and remember the inventors of the nuclear reactor, the typewriter, the battery, the barometer, the piano, and the parachute.

The pretzel pizza and Big Mac, and the Buffalo chicken wing. Mmm, Italiani. Grazie!

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