President Obama among notables reciting Gettysburg Address for Burns’s outreach

By Dru Sefton

PBS filmmaker Ken Burns has assembled an array of top politicians, media stars and other celebrities to recite the Gettysburg Address in honor of the 150th anniversary on Nov. 19 of the famous speech. It’s part of the outreach for Burns’s documentary The Address, scheduled to air April 15, 2014.

Boys at the Greenwood School study the Gettysburg Address. (Photo: Lindsay Taylor Jackson/Florentine Films)

Boys at the Greenwood School study the Gettysburg Address. (Photo: Lindsay Taylor Jackson/Florentine Films)

So far the video submissions, available here, include Presidents Obama, Clinton, Carter and both Bushes; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; several senators such as Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.); CNN’s Wolf Blitzer; businessman Warren Buffet; comedians Stephen Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg; PBS NewsHour‘s Gwen Ifill; NPR’s Nina Totenberg; director Steven Spielberg and many others.

The campaign is inspired by Greenwood School in Putney, Vt., the subject of Burns’s film. Each year, the students — boys ages 11-17, all facing a range of learning difficulties — are encouraged to memorize, practice and recite the Gettysburg Address, which Lincoln delivered at a cemetery dedication nearly five months after the Union armies emerged victorious from the Battle of Gettysburg.

“In his address, President Lincoln said, ‘The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,’ and yet 150 years later, the students of the Greenwood School are using his momentous words to overcome adversity,” Burns said in today’s announcement. “We want to tell this story to inspire everyone across the nation, especially school children, to learn the rich history of American freedom and sacrifice embedded in one of the most important declarations ever made.”

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