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

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

by Boardman W. Kathan

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532614552
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 09/08/2017
Pages: 214
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 A Drum Major For Justice 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Establishing Martin Luther King Day

Books on King and the Civil Rights Movement

A Life Cut Too Short

Corrections and Additions to the Historical Record

King and Yale University

Mississippi Summer Project of 1964

Freedom Songs

Women in the Civil Rights Movement

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

Conclusion

Chapter 2 First in the Hearts of His Countrymen 17

Washington's Birthday, President's Day

A Very Human Icon

A Man for All Stations

Many Biographies of Washington

Washington and Religion

Separation of Church and State

Conclusion

Chapter 3 Lest We Forget 34

Memorial Day

The Origin and Purpose of Memorial Day

Observing Memorial Day

The American Civil War

The Tragedy and Legacy of the Civil War

God's Providential Working in History

Chapter 4 What So Proudly We Hailed 48

Flag Day, June 14

The Evolution of the American Flag

The Five Stages in the Meaning and Significance of the Flag

The emblem of a new nation

Symbol of the survival of freedom and liberty

The sacred symbol of national unity

Symbol of American Nationalism

Symbol of American Ideals and Values

"The Cult of the Flag"

One Nation Under God

Chapter 5 We Hold These Truths 63

Independence Day-Fourth of July

What happened in Philadelphia in 1776?

Why was Independence so long in coming?

How were the people prepared for Independence?

What is the Declaration of Independence?

How was the Declaration of Independence celebrated?

Conclusion

Chapter 6 Toward the Dignity of Labor 79

Labor Day

Studies of the Labor Movement

The Story of American Workers

Conclusion

Chapter 7 The Blessings of Liberty 93

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, September 17

Creation of the Constitution

Ratification

Flaws in the Original Constitution

The Constitution is Not a Religious Document

Civil and Religious Liberty

Conclusion

Chapter 8 Admiral of the Ocean Sea 110

Columbus Day

Where does that leave us today?

What are we to believe?

What should we conclude?

Why should Columbus Day be observed?

Conclusion

Chapter 9 To Honor Veterans and Dedicate Ourselves to World Peace 125

Veterans Day

The Greatest Generation

Readjustment to Civilian Life

"The Best Years of Our Lives"

To Honor Veterans

To Remember the Armistice

Dedicated to World Peace

Chapter 10 Thanksgiving, Prayer, and Praise 140

Thanksgiving Day

Books About Thanksgiving

Antecedents of the Holiday

Hebrew Harvest Festival

English Harvest Home

Puritan Thanksgiving

Dutch Day of Commemoration, or "Herdenking"

Thanksgiving goes national

Conclusion

Appendix A He Belongs to the Ages 159

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Lincoln's Autobiography

Conclusion

Appendix B Leaders of Labor 166

Labor Day

Selective Bibliography 171

Index 179

About the Author 197

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