University of Hawai'i Maui Community College Speech Department

Commemorative Speech Objectives & Tips

The Commemorative Speech should be relatively brief:

Speech 151 Students will present a 2 minute commemorative speech without the use of notes or a manuscript. Speech 251 Students will prepare and use a Manuscript to present a 3-5 minute Commemorative speech at the end of the semester. There is information at the bottom of this page that will help 251 students write a manuscript.

Commemorative Speech Objectives:
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 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.  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 to enhance the imagery, rhythm, and creativity of the speech. (eg., Antithesis = "If you fail to prepare–You prepare to fail." or "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But never let us fear to negotiate") (Alliteration="You want your speech to be a clear, concise, creative, commemoration." Parallelism= "Our mission is to right wrong, to do justice, and to serve humanity"-- the use of parallel ideas in succession. Alliteration and Parallelism="The task is heavy, the toil is long, and the trials will be severe"). (Simile="Her eyes were like limpid pools." or "The Red Man has ever fled the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun") Metaphore="Your eyes are the windows to your soul." or "My Mother was the spoonful of sugar that sweetened life's bitter medicine" Repetition=using the same phrase over throughout your speech or in succession as in Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the "I have a dream" phrase.

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 "Commemorative Speaking" Page.

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
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

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.  

Here are some examples of Manuscript techniques you can
    use for your manuscript.

You can start each sentence with the first word bolded and
    on the left margin.

You can use a larger first letter for each sentence so that
    you can quickly pick out the beginning of each sentence.

You can also bold and/or italicize words that you want to

You want to develop a manuscript that is easy to use. You can use the top two thirds of an 8.5 x 11inch sheet of paper so as to keep your eyes from having to look down to the bottom of the page. Make sure you have no widows or orphans on your pages. Use smaller margins (longer lines for each sentence-one sentence per line would be ideal, but hard to do with larger font). Do NOT use UPPER CASE LETTERS ONLY! UPPER CASE ONLY IS HARDER TO READ THAN a mixture lower case and a Upper Case letters. Do NOT use cards. Use a manuscript on full sheets of paper.

The Public Speakers' Resources
|Public Speakers' Page | Speech 151 | Speech 251 | Public Speaking Resources|
|Supporting Your Speech | Sample Speeches | Speech Practice | Speaking Tips|
|Speech Anxiety | Team Presentations | Group Communication | Interviewing|
|Using Visual Aids | ESL Links | Anonymous Feedback | Ron St. John|
|The Learning Center | MCC Library | Maui Language Institute|
|Distance Education Academic Support Services|
|The Ho'oulu OnLine (Student Newspaper)|
|The University of Hawai'i at Manoa|

Page Designer: Ron St. John
Copyright © 2002 - Ka Leo Kumu
Last Revised: January 16, 2002