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How To Write A Commemorative Speech

How To Write A Commemorative Speech

This video explains the basics of writing an effective commemorative speech, as explained by professional speech writer Richard Heller.

The most important thing about making any speech of commemoration is to keep it focused on the person, or thing, being commemorated, what I'm going to call the "Commemoree". Why should the immediate audience remember the "Commemoree"? And why should future generation remember the "Commemoree?" That is the subject of your speech, and that is what you should plan to say. If you were very close to the Commemoree, you will wish to draw on your own feelings and memories and emotions, but you must do this with discipline and restraint.

You must keep your mind on the audience and on the future generations and the response you want to evoke in them. The speech is about the Commemoree. It is not about you and your feelings.

If the commemoration ceremony draws on the work of a creative artist, it is very important to mention them and to mention all of them being involved. If somebody's made a monument or painted a portrait, somebody's written a special piece of poetry or special passage prose, you must be certain to mention them all, and to say what a great job they did of evoking the Commemoree. Above all, keep the commemoration speech short and leave the audience time to live with their feelings and their memories without the distraction of your voice in their ears.

If you are in doubt about any passage, cut it out. During the American civil war, two speakers were asked to give a commemoration speech in honor of the victims, of one of its bloodiest battles. The first speaker was a man called Senator Everett and he managed to speak for two hours with a lot of florid passages and a lot of rambling historical discourse.

The second speaker was President Lincoln. He spoke for about two and a half minutes. Lincoln's Gettysburg address is the one everybody remembers. .