Students from American Preparatory Academy charter schools recited the Gettysburg Address from memory on the steps of the state capitol Sept. 17.
This event was part of the launching of GettyReady. GettyReady is a nonprofit organization inspired by Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “The Address.” The documentary is about students at a Vermont school memorizing the Gettysburg Address. According to its website, GettyReady encourages everyone to “memorize, study and apply the Gettysburg Address on its anniversary and beyond.”
“I think we forget as Americans how inspiring the document is,” said Michael Dunn, founding member of GettyReady and chief marketing director of Surefoot.
GettyReady was founded by Dunn, John Adams, managing director of Ray Quinney & Nebeker law firm, and Derek Marquis, managing director of BYU Broadcasting, after a pre-screening of “The Address.” GettyReady has partnerships with the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education and Utah State Office of Education as well as several other groups. Although most of the efforts will be done in schools, GettyReady hopes all Utahns will embrace the challenge.
“We want parents, we want families, we want entire communities, the state-wide community, to memorize and live the principles in the Gettysburg Address,” Marquis said.
Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell launched the program Sept. 17 at Red Hills Middle School in Richfield surrounded by school children, government employees, parents, teachers and citizen leaders. Stan Ellsworth, host of BYUtv’s show “American Ride,” also spoke at the middle school. Marquis said GettyReady hoped the governor and lieutenant governor could get more than just students involved.
“In 1863 Abraham Lincoln stood amidst Gettysburg’s honored dead and enlisted all Americans in the struggle to ensure a ‘new birth of freedom,'” Governor Herbert said in a prepared statement on Sept. 16. “It is incumbent on every Utahn to answer that call and enlist in the struggle to ensure (that) ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.'”
GettyReady is currently in the planning stage for other events commemorating the Gettysburg Address. Events will continue until the closing event on Nov. 19, the anniversary of the historic address. Dunn said GettyReady wants to reward the children who took the time to memorize the address at the closing event.
GettyReady launched a website, gettyready.org, that has learning resources about the Gettysburg Address for grades K–12, links to histories of the Gettysburg Address and Abraham Lincoln and lists of discussion questions.