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AETN encourages people across the state to recite the Gettysburg Address in conjunction with new Ken Burns documentary

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns has announced a major national public outreach campaign in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address to challenge everyone across the country, especially students, to learn about and read aloud the Gettysburg Address. The initiative, in conjunction with PBS and WETA, will run through April 15, 2014, when Burns's "The Address," a 90-minute feature-length documentary, will air on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN).

The campaign uses social media and videos from public figures, political leaders, entertainers and Lincoln historians reading the Gettysburg Address to encourage people to submit their own videos. Gov. Mike Beebe was the first Arkansan to upload his video, and AETN is asking other to do the same by visiting aetn.org/learntheaddress.

Among those submitting videos are: Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Senators Marco Rubio, Charles Schumer and Jay Rockefeller; former Governors Charlie Crist, Mario Cuomo and Jim Gilmore; Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Rabbi Peter Rubinstein; Wolf Blitzer; Warren Buffet; Carol Burnett; Louis CK; Stephen Colbert; Bill Gates; Whoopi Goldberg; David Gregory; Arianna Huffington; Gwen Ifill; Jimmy Kimmel; Vicky Lawrence; Rachel Maddow; Alyssa Milano; Rita Moreno; Conan O'Brien; Bill O'Reilly; Robin Roberts; Jerry Seinfeld; Bob Schieffer; Steven Spielberg; Martha Stewart; Taylor Swift; Uma Thurman; Nina Totenberg; Usher; Shane Victorino and many others. These videos - and those submitted by any member of the public - have been uploaded to the project's website, learntheaddress.org.

The campaign is inspired by the subject of Burns's film "The Address," which tells the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vt., the Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to memorize, practice and recite the Gettysburg Address. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln's most powerful address.

"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. "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."

In addition, AETN will be working with WETA, the Washington, D.C., public television station that is Burns's production partner, to develop a standards-based education curriculum designed to help students understand why the Gettysburg Address is regarded as one of the finest political speeches of all time, along with tips and strategies for memorization. The lesson plans and activities will also be available to all schools around the country through the film's companion website pbs.org/theaddress. Educators can also access these resources through AETN PBS Learning Media and at aetn.org/educators.

"The Address" is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, D.C., and is directed by Ken Burns. Funding for "The Address" is provided by Bank of America; PBS; Corporation for Public Broadcasting and members of The Better Angels Society, including Robert & Beverly Grappone.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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