In commemoration of documentary filmmaking and Gettysburg’s “Dedication Day” ceremony, here’s a condensed re-post from my other blog, “At The Matinee.”
“November 19th… This day is one of my most favorite of days, a day of possibilities.”
-Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns, giving the introductory keynote address at The 145th Gettysburg Address Dedication Day Ceremony, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19th, 2008
November 19th, 2008: It was a chilly day up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I learned about the Dedication Day commemoration event several days earlier, after reading in The News-Post that documentary filmmaker Ken Burns would make a special appearance at the event.
I was studying at Frederick Community College at the time, and by luck, I didn’t have any classes on that day.
Throughout the ceremony, Burns gave the keynote address, after Jim Getty’s (1932-2015) re-enactment of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I filmed the entire event from start to finish in freezing temperatures, along with some still photographs of the ceremony (including a group photograph of Burns with an area Civil War re-enactment troupe).
At the end, Burns was on hand to sign programs from interested patrons. I was one of the lucky hopefuls to have my program booklet signed by the master documentary filmmaker.
After the event, I had lunch at The Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg, sitting near several Civil War reenactors who attended the event, munching on a delicious hot sandwich with warm cider.
The next day:
The day after, I had my one of my evening video editing classes at FCC. I thought that it would be a unique idea to share with the class about getting Ken Burns’ autograph on my program guide for the ceremony. To my surprise, neither the instructor, nor any of my fellow friends in class knew who Ken Burns was. I was in shock that no one knew about the acclaimed historical documentary filmmaker.
Six years later:
Some six years later, when I entered Hood College as a transfer student using my FCC credits, I was relieved to hear that several of my friends in my classes have heard of Ken Burns and his critically-acclaimed documentary films on Public Television.
I felt that it was one of many exciting moments of my life, not only as an aspiring videographer, but as a person who enjoys watching Ken Burns’ iconic historical documentaries, including “The Statue of Liberty,” “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” and “The Roosevelts,” just to name several.