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Speech 251 Handout Packet Table of Contents - page 20 / 25





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Commemorative Speech Objectives – 3 to 5 Minutes


  • 1.

    Create a speech that is short, eloquent, and commemoratively inspiring to all.

  • 2.

    Commemorate or pay tribute to a person, group, institution, thing, idea or event.

  • 3.

    Organize your thoughts and ideas so as to inspire your audience.

  • 4.

    Use the richness and beauty of the English language to commemorate and inspire.

  • 5.

    Learn to effectively use a Manuscript when delivering a speech.


The Speech: Commemorative speeches are addresses of praise, tribute or celebration (text pages 445-449). Commemorative speeches pay tribute to a person, group, institution, thing, event or an idea. Eulogies, Fourth of July speeches, testimonial addresses, and dedications are examples of commemorative speeches. The fundamental purpose of a commemorative speech is to inspire the audience-to heighten their admiration for the person, group, institution, event, thing/monument or idea being praised.

Although it usually presents information about its subject, a commemorative speech is different from an informative speech. The aim of an informative speech is to communicate information clearly and accurately. The aim of a commemorative speech is to express feelings, arouse sentiments, and inspire. It is NOT just a list of a persons achievements, accomplishments and/or background; it is much more.

Commemorative speeches depend above all on the creative and subtle use of language. Some of the most memorable speeches in history are commemorative addresses that we continue to find meaningful because of their eloquent expression. Two aspects of language use are especially important for commemorative speeches. The first is avoiding cliches and trite sentiments. The second is utilizing stylistic devices such as those used to enhance the presentation like--imagery, rhythm, metaphore, simile, antithesis (eg., “If you fail to prepare–You prepare to fail.”).

Use the following tips of special occasion/commemorative speaking to help you write, organize, and deliver your commemorative speech. If you would like a more complete description and outline of each of the following tips please refer to the Public Speakers’ Pages–“The 251 Speeches Page” then “Commemorative Speaking” at:


  • 1.

    Create a ceremonial speech that is short and eloquent.

  • 2.

    Adapt your speech to the occasion and the person, place, or event you are celebrating.

  • 3.

    Consider the emotional needs of your audience and attempt to fulfill these needs with your speech.

  • 4.

    Focus more on conveying your emotions, respect, and sincerity than providing a great deal of information about the honoree.

  • 5.

    Unify your audience around emotions and sentiments you commonly share for the commemorated.

  • 6.

    Make specific references to the particular characteristics and contributions of the honoree.

  • 7.

    Balance your adulation of the honoree's professional accomplishments with praise for her/his personal achievements.

  • 8.

    Do not understate or exaggerate your emotions or praise for the honoree–BE SINCERE.

The Manuscript: The Manuscript is to be Typed, Large Font (20pt.+), double and triple spaced; no widows or orphans on the page. You could Bold or highlight the first word in each sentence to make it easy to pick up the start of each sentence. You could start all sentences on the left margin so you don’t have to fish around in the interior of the page to find the start of the next sentence. Your goal is to develop a manuscript that is easy to use when delivering the speech. The due dates are on your new schedule.

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