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New Mexicans recite Gettysburg Address for PBS show

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Students from The Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, are part of the documentary, "The Address," by Ken Burns.

Students from The Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, are part of the documentary, “The Address,” by Ken Burns.

Ken Burns is known for his award-winning documentaries.

This time the filmmaker is presenting “The Address,” which will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 on New Mexico PBS.

The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vermont, 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.

While the school featured is in Vermont, there will be a localized version that features some notable New Mexicans.

“We had this idea after watching the screening in Washington, D.C.,” says Franz Joachim, general manager/CEO of NMPBS. “After watching this we got an idea to localize this and get some New Mexicans reciting the Gettysburg Address.”

BURNS: Filmmaker tells story of Vermont school

BURNS: Filmmaker tells story of Vermont school

Those who participated are:

  • Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.);
  • Winston Brooks, superintendent for Albuquerque Public Schools;
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.);
  • Yvette Kaufman-Bell, executive director for the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs;
  • Hakim Bellamy, host of NM PBS ┬íCOLORES!;
  • Robert Frank, president of the University of New Mexico;
  • Franz Joachim, general manager/CEO of New Mexico PBS;
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.); and
  • Gov. Susana Martinez

Joachim says Pearce’s version is done in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

“What I like about this is that it takes you back to when you first learned about it,” he says. “It also reminded me of how important Lincoln’s speech is and it still holds a lot of impact.”

Joachim says Burns started the documentary as part of the “Learn the Address” campaign.

It was started to encourage Americans to recite the speech and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Joachim says there are a few New Mexicans on the national site and he encourages more people to post.

“This is part of our nation’s history,” he says. “It’s a fun way to remember what the speech did for us.”

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