American Holidays

Technically, American holidays aren't holidays. The word holiday means "holy day," and the only paid federal festival that even approaches that description is Thanksgiving. Independence Day, Labor Day, Washington's Birthday, etc. might be holy according to the dogma of the civil religion, but as Christians we reserve adjectives like holy and sacred for Christ and His Church.

That doesn't mean we can't celebrate along with our countrymen. Liberty, justice and equality are American distinctives, and we thank God we live in a country where they're upheld (at least for the most part). To hold our freedom lightly would be ungrateful on our part, so we celebrate it humbly when we have the chance.

Our favorite distinctly American holiday is Thanksgiving. Given the circumstances of its first celebration it's a little ironic that it's a federal holiday, but we aren't complaining. You can read more about it in our Thanksgiving category. We also like Independence Day because Civil War reenactments are fun and fireworks are super rad, but we've given it the full treatment elsewhere.

Many of the other holidays observed by our federal government are less well known or universally celebrated. (We aren't talking about Christmas or New Year; those aren't distinctly American.) Who even knew Columbus Day was a holiday? Well, if you work at the post office or a bank you probably knew, but most of us are quite unaware.

Which is kind of a shame. While we wouldn't support Martin Luther King, Jr.'s theology, celebrating his birthday isn't a celebration of him so much as a memorial to the Civil Rights movement and the struggle of the black community to achieve equal rights and standing as citizens. Insofar as his efforts were a rallying point for many, the holiday bears his name.

Celebrating the birthdays of Columbus and George Washington is almost a no-brainer: without Christopher we wouldn't even be here, and without ol' Georgie we wouldn't be ruled by a president. Those may be broad strokes to paint in, but few nations in the world owe so much to two distinct individuals for their existence.

Of course, millions of others have helped build this land. Memorial Day remembers those Americans who've died in war, while Veterans Day honors everyone who's served in the armed forces; Labor Day is a tip of the hat to the workers of America, the solid constituency that built Chicago, ranched Colorado, and found gold in the middle of Alaska.

There aren't a lot of specifically American traditions. We like to rally around the ones we do have to promote cameraderie and peace, and these holidays provide just that opportunity. If you aren't into celebrating state-sponsored festivals, that's fine. But the fact that you can have that opinion and still enjoy your freedom says a lot for our country, and we're willing to show our gratitude a few times a year.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
by Catherine O'Neill Grace
from National Geographic
for 4th-6th grade
in Pilgrims at Plymouth (Location: HISA-17PIL)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
1776
by David McCullough
from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
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1776
by David McCullough
1st edition from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
18 Penny Goose
An I Can Read Book Level 3
by Sally M. Walker
from HarperCollins
Realistic fiction for 2nd-4th grade
in I Can Read Books (Location: EAR-ICR)
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Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys
by Patricia Lee Gauch, illustrated by Margot Tomes
from Betterway Books
Historical Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Abigail Adams
A Discovery Book
by Helen Stone Peterson, illustrated by Betty Fraser
from Garrard Publishing Company
for 2nd-4th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Adventures of Munford: The American Revolution
by Jamie Aramini
1st edition from Geography Matters
for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: HISA-18REV)
Adventures of the American Revolution
by Susan Olasky
from P&R Publishing
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Adventurous Life of Myles Standish
by Cheryl Harness
from National Geographic
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
AIO Imagination Station Book #06
by Marianne Hering & Marshal Younger
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
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$5.99
AIO Imagination Station Book #13
by Marianne Hering, Nancy I. Sanders
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
in Imagination Station (Location: SER-AIO)
$5.99
AIO Imagination Station Book #14
by Marianne Hering, Nancy I. Sanders
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
in Imagination Station (Location: SER-AIO)
$5.99
AIO Imagination Station Book #15
by Marianne Hering, Nancy I. Sanders
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
in Imagination Station (Location: SER-AIO)
$5.99
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
Landmark #85
by Russel & Anna Crouse
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Almost Home
Daughters of the Faith
by Wendy G. Lawton
from Moody Press
Historical Fiction for 3rd-6th grade
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$7.99 $5.00 (5 in stock)
Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey
An I Can Read Book Level 2
by Herman Parish, Illustrated by Lynn Sweat
from HarperCollins
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America America America
by Kenneth Seeman Giniger (Editor), Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher
from Franklin Watts
for 3rd-Adult
in Vintage Anthology Collections (Location: VIN-ANTH)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
America During Four Wars
by Earl Schenck Miers & Felix Sutton
from Grosset & Dunlap
in American History Reference (Location: HISA-REF)
America in the Time of George Washington
by Sally Senzell Isaacs
from Heinemann Library
for 3rd-6th grade
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$6.00 (1 in stock)
America's Ethan Allen
by Stewart H. Holbrook
9th printing from Houghton Mifflin
Picture Book Biography for 4th-6th grade
1950 Caldecott Honor Book
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America's National Battlefield Parks
by Joseph E. Stevens
from University of Oklahoma Press
for 9th-Adult
in Landmarks & Symbols of the United States (Location: HISA-LAND)
America's Paul Revere
by Esther Forbes
from Sandpiper Books
Biography for 2nd-6th grade
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American Heritage History of the American Revolution
by Bruce Lancaster
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 9th-Adult
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$8.00 (2 in stock)
American History for Young Students I
by Michelle Miller
from TruthQuest History
History Curriculum for 1st-5th grade
in TruthQuest History (Location: HISCUR-TQ)
$24.95
American History Stories Volume 2
by Mara L. Pratt
from Yesterday's Classics
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$9.95
American Revolution
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by Bruce Bliven
from Random House
Historical Non-fiction for 5th-8th grade
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American Revolution
America at War Series
by Alden Carter
from Grolier Publishing
Historical Non-fiction for 4th-6th grade
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American Revolution
Landmark #83
by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
from Random House
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American Revolution
Jackdaw No.14
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$35.00 (1 in stock)
American Revolution
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by R. G. Grant
from Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishing
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American Revolution Primary Sources
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American Revolutionaries
by Milton Meltzer
from HarperCollins
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American Story: The Revolutionaries
Time-Life: The American Story
from Time-Life Books
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American Twins of the Revolution
by Lucy Fitch Perkins
from Salem Ridge Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates, illustrated by Nora S. Unwin
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$7.99
Amos Fortune, Free Man
by Elizabeth Yates, illustrated by Nora S. Unwin
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1951 Newbery Medal winner
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
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And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from Scholastic Inc.
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
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Anne Bradstreet
by Heidi L. Nichols
from P&R Publishing
Biography for 10th-Adult
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Christian Renegades Series
by Doug Wilson
3rd edition from Canon Press
Biography for
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$16.95
Annie Henry and the Secret Mission
Adventures of the American Revolution
by Susan Olasky
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$2.50 (1 in stock)
Answering the Cry for Freedom
by Gretchen Woelfle, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
from Calkins Creek
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$19.99
Apostle of Liberty
by Stephen McDowell
from Cumberland House
Biography for 9th-Adult
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Arrow Over the Door
by Joseph Bruchac
from Puffin Books
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$6.99
At Seneca Castle
by William W. Canfield
from Salem Ridge Press
for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$10.50
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Dover Thrift Editions
by Benjamin Franklin
from Dover Publications
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in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
B. Franklin, Printer
by David A. Adler
from Holiday House
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$6.00 (1 in stock)
Battle for Long Island and New York
by Susan Lee
from Children's Press
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Battle of Lexington
by Jonas Clark
from Nordskog Publishing
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$8.50
Battle of Valcour Bay
Triangle Histories: The Revolutionary War
by Scott Ingram
from Blackbirch Press
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$4.00 (1 in stock)
Battle of Yorktown
by Thomas J. Fleming
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 3rd-7th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Beginning of the Republic
A Basic History of the United States Volume 2
by Clarence B. Carson
from American Textbook Committee
American History Reference for 9th-Adult
in Basic History of the United States (Location: HISCUR-US)
$16.00
Bells of Freedom
by Dorothy Gilman Butters
from Macrae-Smith Company
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia
Landmark Series
by Margaret Cousins
from Random House
Biography for 5th-8th grade
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$5.99
Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia
Landmark #28
by Margaret Cousins
from Random House
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Benjamin Franklin
by Edgar & Ingri D'Aulaire
from Beautiful Feet Books
Picture Book Biography for 3rd-6th grade
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$17.95
Benjamin Franklin
Heroes of History
by Geoff & Janet Benge
from Emerald Books
Biography for 4th-7th grade
in Heroes of History (Location: BIO-BENGE)
$9.99
Benjamin Franklin, American Genius
by Brandon Marie Miller
from Chicago Review Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Colonial America (1690-1765) (Location: HISA-17COL)
Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings
Signet Classics
by Benjamin Franklin
Reprint from Signet Classics
Autobiography for 9th-Adult
in 18th Century Literature (Location: LIT5-18)
$5.95
Betsy Ross and the Flag
Landmark #26
by Jane Mayer
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage & Collectible (Location: VIN-COL)
Betsy Ross: Designer of our Flag
Childhood of Famous Americans
by Ann Weil
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Biography for 3rd-6th grade
in Childhood of Famous Americans (Location: BIO-COFA)
$7.99
Betsy Ross: Girl of Old Philadelphia
Childhood of Famous Americans
by Ann Weil, illustrated by Al Fiorentino
from Bobbs-Merril Co
Biography for 3rd-6th grade
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Beyond Stateliest Marble
Leaders in Action Series
by Doug Wilson
from Cumberland House
Biography for
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Biography of Benjamin Franklin
Sons of Liberty Series
by William M. Thayer
from A Beka Books
for 5th-9th grade
in A Beka Book Report books (Location: REA-ABK)
Biography of George Washington
Sons of Liberty Series
by William M. Thayer
from A Beka Books
for 5th-9th grade
in A Beka Book Report books (Location: REA-ABK)
Black Heroes of the American Revolution
by Burke Davis
1992 Odyssey Classics edition from Clarion Books
for 5th-8th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: HISA-18REV)
$8.99
Black Man in America
from Franklin Watts
for 6th-12th grade
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$7.50 (1 in stock)
Boston Tea Party
by James E. Knight
Other Printing from Troll Associates
for 4th-6th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: HISA-18REV)
Boston Tea Party
from Troll Communications
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Boston Tea Party
by Russel Freedman, Illustrated by Peter Malone
from Holiday House
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$8.00 (1 in stock)
Boys of '76
by Charles Coffin
from Maranatha Publications
Historical Reference for 10th-Adult
in America's Christian Heritage (Location: HISA-CH)
$19.97
Bulletproof George Washington
by David Barton
2nd edition from WallBuilder Press
Biography for 9th-adult
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
Bulletproof George Washington
by David Barton
3rd edition from WallBuilder Press
Biography for 9th-adult
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
from Puffin Books
Historical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$7.99
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
by Jean Fritz
from PaperStar Books
for 4th-6th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: HISA-18REV)
$6.99
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
by Jean Fritz
from Coward McCann
for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: HISA-18REV)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
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$8.99 $5.00 (4 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham, illustrated by John O'Hara Cosgrave II
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
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$20.00 (1 in stock)
Cavalier and Puritan Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
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$3.95
Christian History of the American Revolution
by Verna Hall & Rosalie Slater
from Foundation for American Christian Education
in Principle Approach (Location: HSR-METPA)
Cobblestone Magazine: Thomas Jefferson
from Cobblestone Publishing
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$1.25 (1 in stock)
Colonial Experience
A Basic History of the United States Volume 1
by Clarence B. Carson
from American Textbook Committee
American History Reference for 9th-Adult
in Basic History of the United States (Location: HISCUR-US)
$16.00
Colonial Kids
by Laurie Carlson
1st edition from Chicago Review Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Colonial America (1690-1765) (Location: HISA-17COL)
$9.00 (2 in stock)
Colonial Period: 1607-1750
American History by Era Volume 2
by Brenda Stalcup (editor)
from Greenhaven Press
for 9th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
$11.00 (1 in stock)
Colonies - Coloring Book
Educational Read & Color Books
by Peter & Linda Spizzirri
from Spizzirri Press
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$3.95
Coloring Book of the American Revolution
by Harry Knill
from Bellerophon Books
for 4th-6th grade
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Common Sense
Dover Thrift Editions
by Thomas Paine
from Dover Publications
Political Philosophy for 9th-Adult
in 18th Century Literature (Location: LIT5-18)
$3.00
Concise Illustrated History of the American Revolution
from Eastern Acorn Press
for 3rd-7th grade
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$3.00 (1 in stock)
Cranberry Thanksgiving
by Wende & Harry Devlin
from Purple House Press
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$20.95
Cranberry Thanksgiving
by Wende Devlin
First Edition from Parents Magazine Press
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots
Childhood of Famous Americans
by Dharathula H. Millender
from Aladdin Paperbacks
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$7.99 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Crispus Attucks: Boy of Valor
Childhood of Famous Americans
by Dharathula H. Millender
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Cromwell's Head
by Olivia Coolidge, illustrated by Edward A. Wilson
from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-8th grade
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Crossing
by Jim Murphy
from Scholastic Press
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$7.00 (2 in stock)
Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony 1636
by Paul Erickson
from Clarion Books
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in Oversized History Books (Location: HISW-OVER)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Daniel Boone: The Opening of the Wilderness
Landmark #21
by John Mason Brown
from Random House
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in American Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAND)
$12.00 (2 in stock)
Declaration of Independence
History Speaks
by Douglas M. Rife
from Teaching & Learning Company
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Declaration of Independence
by Sam Fink
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Declaration of Independence
by Carole Marsh
from Gallopade International
for 2nd-4th grade
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$3.00 (1 in stock)
Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History
Dover Thrift Editions
by John Grafton, editor
from Dover Publications
Primary Source Documents for 9th-Adult
in 18th Century Literature (Location: LIT5-18)
$4.00
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