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American Holy Days: The Heart and Soul of Our National Holidays

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In times of stress and conflict the celebration of patriotic holidays can bring us together. These ten chapters examine the traditional national holidays of the United States of America--plus Flag Day and Constitution Day--by presenting the persons and events they commemorate, which have shaped American history and identity. In addition, Lincoln's birthday--never proclaimed a national holiday--is considered in an appendix. This book restores the original meaning of these celebrations and looks closely at their development in American history, seeking to inspire renewed ways of celebration, commemoration, and observance. It is an aid for recalling our history, reclaiming our values and traditions, and restoring a sense of community. Each chapter looks at the many books and research written about the events commemorated by these holidays, showing their relevance for today, and their spiritual or religious dimensions. Although the United States of America was not founded as a ""Christian nation"" on biblical principles, people throughout American history have perceived divine guidance--or what George Washington called ""Providential interposition."" This book is for the general public, members of patriotic organizations and associations, and as a resource book for schools and religious institutions. ""In American Holy Days, Boardman Kathan has provided an invaluable primer on the history and significance of American holidays. This fine book tells us a great deal about who we are as Americans by delving into the nature and character of our celebrations."" -- Randall Balmer, Dartmouth College Boardman W. Kathan is a historian, archivist, and retired minister, ordained in what is now the United Church of Christ. Kathan's writings include a prize-winning history of a Connecticut church, curriculum books, a memoir called My Prospects: Growing Up and Growing Old in a Small Connecticut Town, and numerous essays and articles on noted members of the religious education movement as well as the religious aspects of the lives of John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln.
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