This Memorial Day, History launches a four-year initiative to both honor and commemorate the Civil War, which marks its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2011, with the two-hour documentary Gettysburg.
Executive-produced by Tony (Unstoppable; Man on Fire; Top Gun) and Ridley (Gladiator; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster), the feature documentary is narrated by Sam Rockwell (Conviction, Iron Man 2, The Green Mile).
Gettysburg strips away any romanticized veneer of the Civil War and presents the engagement in a new light: a visceral, terrifying experience with everything on the line. At its core, this is the story of the soldiers on the ground, not the generals who commanded from behind the frontlines. CGI and action footage place viewers in the midst of the fighting, delivering an emotional cinematic and information-packed experience, which examines turning points, technology and little-known facts about what is arguably America's greatest battle, according to History officials.
On May 31 at 9 p.m., History follows with the two-hour Lee & Grant. Produced with the cooperation of leading Civil War historian Winston Groom, author of "Forrest Gump," Lee & Grant is a personal look at two iconic leaders of the Civil War. Surprising details reveal the bold choices Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Union general Ulysses S. Grant made on decisive battlefields like Vicksburg and Gettysburg that, within days of each other, turned the tide of the war.
History will also present Civil War-themed episodes of series American Pickers and Pawn Stars this week.
As part of its four-year programming commitment to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, History is partnering with the Civil War Trust and the National Park Foundation on "Give 150," an educational and fund-raising initiative to enhance Civil War education nationwide, and to protect and preserve battlefields and other key sites from this pivotal period in American history. The network will match grants up to $150,000. Learn more at: www.give150.com.
History, which has launched a dedicated site Civil War 150, is also donating $100,000 to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.
National advertisers Bank of America, RAM, and GEICO have signed on to sponsor the week-long event.
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