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Press Release
June 27, 2007

National Archives Fourth of July Celebration Honors WWII Veterans

Filmmaker Ken Burns to speak and preview upcoming "The War" series

On Wednesday, July 4 at 10 a.m., the National Archives will celebrate the 231st anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program. The ceremony will feature remarks by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and Archivist of the United States, historian Allen Weinstein. It will include patriotic music, a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by World War II veterans Lieutenant Colonel Henry Cervantes, USAF (Ret.) and Major Norman T. Hatch, USMCR (Ret.), and a four-minute preview of Ken Burns’ new project on World War II, The War, a segment dealing with July 4, 1944.

The ceremony will take place from 10-11 a.m. on the Constitution Avenue steps of the National Archives Building, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC. Space will be reserved for the electronic media.

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than thirty years. The War, a seven-part series coming to PBS September 23, 2007, was produced and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and tells the story of World War II through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four American towns. The series explores the most intimate human dimensions of the greatest cataclysm in history and demonstrates that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives. Mr. Burns is a member of the board of the Foundation for the National Archives, and The War series makes extensive use of both original film footage and photography from the records of the National Archives.

This popular family event is free and open to the public. Seating on the Constitution Avenue steps is available on a first-come, first-seated basis. The morning ceremony will be followed by family activities from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the National Archives Building. "July Fourth at the National Archives" is made possible in part by the generous support of John Hancock Financial Services. The National Archives Building is fully accessible, and there will be a sign language interpreter for the ceremony. Visit www.archives.gov, or call (202) 357-5000 for more information.

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For press information please contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at (202) 357-5300.

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