To comemmorate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address, Ken Burns and PBS have teamed up to channel your fifth-grade social studies teacher and challenge Americans everywhere to memorize and recite that famous speech upon the dedication of a soldiers’ cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa.
In order to raise awareness of the “Learn the Address” campaign, launched just ahead of the anniversary on Nov. 19, Burns recorded celebrities from entertainment, media and politics reading and reciting the speech. So you can see Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter giving the speech alongside Bill O’Reilly, Conan O’Brien, Louis C.K. and “Lincoln” director Steven Spielberg.
Burns’ next documentary project, “The Address,” focuses not on the distant past but on the present, as the tiny Greenwood School in Putney, Vt., uses the memorization and recitation of the speech to aid young boys with learning difficulties.
Burns’ new documentary will premiere on PBS on April 15. But in the meantime, the general public is encouraged to brush up on their memorization skills and submit a video of themselves reciting Lincoln’s speech.
PBS isn’t letting the 150th anniversary go by completely without new programming, however. On Nov. 19, the channel will premiere “Lincoln@Gettysburg,” a documentary that explores Lincoln’s use of the new telegraph capabilities to wield power at great distance in the 19th century.
In the meantime, the curious can go here to see their favorite public figures brush up on their history.