A video of former US President Jimmy Carter recounting how former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin recited the entire Gettysburg Address by heart during the negotiations at Camp Davidon the 1979 peace accord between Israel and Egypt is circulating online after it was posted to Twitter by filmmaker Ken Burns.
In 2013, Burns, a renowned documentary filmmaker whose work has received two Oscar nominations, two Grammy Awards and 15 Emmy Awards, asked each living US President to recite the Gettysburg Address. Carter, when prompted, first recalled the moment he brought Begin and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.to the site of the most famous battle of the American Civil War.
According to President Carter, Begin, who led the paramilitary Irgun organization before the founding of the State of Israel, was the only member of the group of Americans, Egyptians, and Israelis who had not received formal military training, and the rest of them had studied the Battle of Gettysburg and its tactics in military schools.
“For the first hour or so, he was quite silent, didn’t have anything to say.” Carter recounted, adding that he was “a little bit embarrassed” for the Israeli Prime Minister because he felt that Begin “was kind of lonely and left out.”
“But when we got to the place where the guide said the Gettysburg Address was given by Lincoln, Begin, in a very quiet voice, started reciting the Gettysburg Address from memory. And he said it accurately and with a great deal of feeling, and everybody there got very quiet. And when he got through, there was a round of applause,” he said.
The former President said that the one thing everyone who was there that day would always remember “was Menachem Begin, a non-military man, reciting the Gettysburg Address.”
President Carter, 98, was moved into hospice care in his home last month, the Carter Center announced.