Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gettysburg Address in Guinness Book?

SPRINGFIELD -- One of the most recognizable speeches Abraham Lincoln ever gave could make the Guinness Book of World Records for number of people simultaneously reading from the same document.

On the 200th anniversary of the 16th president’s birthday, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield is attempting to get more than 223,363 people to read “The Gettysburg Address” in unison. The reading will occur Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

The old record was organized by Waldenbooks throughout its stores nationwide, said David Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The idea of reading “The Gettysburg Address” was already planned, but Blanchette said he wanted to up the ante.

“I decided why don’t we pursue a world record,” he said.

The reading will be done via live Web cast on www.presidentlincoln.org. Forms to participate in the reading can be accessed through the Web site beginning Friday. The information received from the forms will be used to determine if the record is broken.

“We’re hoping anyone that does attempt the record fills out the form and sends them to us,” Blanchette said. “It’s going to be a long process of documenting people who did this.”

President Barack Obama has been invited to attend the bicentennial celebration, but Blanchette said the president would not be able to participate in the reading. Obama has not verified if he will be coming to Springfield.

Well, this isn't something I expected for the Lincoln Bicentennial. Nearly a quarter-million people is a lot of readers! We'll see if they pull it off.

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