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Controversy Surrounds President Obama's Reading of Gettysburg Address

CINCINNATI (Derek Drake) -- Filmmaker Ken Burns gathered together all living presidents as well as journalists and celebrities to recited Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address to air in a documentary on PBS and on his website focused on the speech, http://www.learntheaddress.org/.

President Barack Obama was also apart of the filming, but in his rendition of the speech, he left out "under God," that is in the closing of Lincoln's address. Some reports add the president was the only one to omit the words from the famous speech.

The omission can be found around the 1:30 mark in the video above. The full speech as recorded in the national archives is as follows (as derived from the Bliss Copy):

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." -- Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

All versions of the speech from the presidents, celebrities and journalists are available on Ken Burns' website.

Amid the growing controversy, it appears the Learn The Address website has added an explanatory box to their page saying, "There are five versions of the Gettysburg Address. We asked President Obama to read the first, the 'Nicolay Version'." A cached capture of the website did not contain the alert, leading some to speculate it was recently added amid the building controversy surrounding the video.

While there are as many as 10 versions of the famous address floating around the historical world, some that omit the words "under God." The Associated Press' version of the speech, which includes the phrase, is the most commonly used and cited version.

"The inclusion of God in the speech is perhaps the most significant difference among the versions," according to the National Constitution Center. "The fifth version of the speech, which was signed and dated by Lincoln, was considered the final version and included under God in its last sentence."

The 'Nicolay Copy' is considered a 'first draft' of Lincoln's speech and contains a number of differences from the 'Bliss Copy'. The following is the full version of the 'Nicolay Copy':

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate " we can not consecrate " we can not hallow, this ground " The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us " that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion " that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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