Commemorative Speech Topics Spark Remembrance

Commemortive speech topics - remembering Queen Elizabeth

Giving a commemorative speech can be a powerful way to honor and celebrate the people, events, and occasions that are important to us personally or as part of a company, organization, or nation. They might focus on the life of a person, a significant event. or a special occasion.

A commemorative or ceremonial speech celebrates the milestones of a person, group, or institution and honors the significance of a particular event. While commemorative speech topics can be rather broad, the purpose remains the same: to pay tribute to the subject while inspiring and evoking positive emotions in the audience. 

Why Should You Give A Commemorative Speech?

A persuasive speech aims to convince the audience, while an informative speech aspires to shed light on a particular topic. On the other hand, a commemorative speech is more of a celebration of the subject and the human values they exemplify in hopes of uplifting the audience. 

People typically deliver this type of speech during a special occasion (e.g., graduation ceremony, anniversary, funeral, dedication). A graduation speech, an award acceptance speech, a tribute speech, and a eulogy are all forms of a commemorative speech.

Commemorative speech topics - 9/11
A firefighter pays his respects at the Memorial Wall at FDNY Engine 10 Ladder 10 House on Liberty St . The firehouse is directly across from the WTC site.

How Do You Write A Good Commemorative Speech?

In speech writing, choosing a proper topic among the plethora of commemorative speech ideas is one of the first things you need to do to make a good commemorative speech. 

When selecting, you must consider yourself and your audience. Your topic should genuinely interest you, and you must have adequate knowledge about it.  It must also be relevant to the people you’re talking to. Even if you’re talking about the same topic, for instance, World War II, your approach and theme will vary depending on your audience members (e.g., if they are war comrades or high school or college students).

Once you’ve identified your topic, you must gather research materials, organize your thoughts, and create an outline complete with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Take note that a well-crafted ceremonial speech must have relevant facts and meaningful anecdotes that capture the essence of your subject. You can also add a personal touch to provide a deeper insight into the subject matter. 

What Should The Tone Of A Commemorative Speech Be?

Commemorative speeches honor someone or something during a special occasion. Though you can deliver this speech in many different situations, the tone should generally be elegant, uplifting, and respectful. Many ceremonial speeches also use figurative language, but you must remember not to use exaggerated language to preserve your piece’s impact and authenticity. 

Depending on the occasion and your relationship with the subject, you can also incorporate humor to make your speech more memorable. But, you must use it with the utmost sensitivity. Always remember that your goal is to usher in some lighthearted moments. When discussing funny commemorative speech topics in a more easy-going setup (for example, family reunions), you’ll have more liberty to use a comical tone. 

Whether you’re going for a full-on formal approach or want to inject some humor now and then, one thing must remain: Your speech should be heartfelt to make it more remarkable, inspiring, and effective.

What Are Some Commemorative Speech Topics?

Looking for the best commemorative speech topics? When you brainstorm with peers or research topics inspired by personal experiences of current events, you’ll find many options for a commemorative speech. Even persuasive or informative speech topics can be discussed in a ceremonial speech, given that they will be talked about in a way that fits the characteristics of such a speech. 

Here’s a list of possible topics for your commemorative speech to give you some ideas.

  1. Tribute to a family member or a partner
  2. Tribute to personal achievements 
  3. Tribute to a colleague or mentor
  4. Tribute to human courage (e.g., police officers, soldiers)
  5. Tribute to hard work (e.g., family breadwinners, laborers)
  6. Tribute to teamwork (e.g., sports teams)
  7. Tribute to innovation (e.g., inventors, social media founders)
  8. Tribute to important movements (e.g., civil rights movement, LGBT rights movement)
  9. Tribute to important people (e.g., Martin Luther King, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charlie Chaplin, or even Mr. Bean)
  10. A commemoration of important events (e.g., abolishment of the slave trade)
  11. A commemoration of life-changing disasters or calamities (e.g., earthquakes)
  12. The value of freedom
  13. The value of hope
  14. The value of resilience
  15. The value of family
  16. The value of humor
  17. Examples of loyalty
  18. Examples of artistic or scientific ingenuity
  19. Examples of honesty
  20. Examples of patriotism

What Is The Difference Between A Commemorative Speech And A Eulogy?

As stated, a eulogy is a specific type of commemorative or special occasion speech. Usually, a family member or a close friend delivers it during a funeral or memorial service. 

Generally speaking, the goal of a commemorative speech is to honor a person or an event. Eulogies, in particular, are meant to remember a deceased individual. It’s a way to show respect and reflect on the person’s life, character, achievements, and impact. The audience members of a eulogy comprise family members, friends, loved ones, peers, and acquaintances of the deceased. 

During this type of speech, the tone is more solemn and emotional, as it’s also a way for the speaker to console and comfort the bereaved. In other instances, speakers also incorporate humor while maintaining a respectful tone. Again, as mentioned, this will depend on your relationship with the subject and the overall mood of the event. You can sensitively inject a lighthearted mood by sharing stories and experiences you’ve had about the deceased.

Eulogy - Reverend Al Sharpton delivers eulogy at the funeral for 1-year-old boy killed by bullet at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

What Is A Commemorative Speech About An Event?

You can use a commemorative speech in remembrance of an important event. This type of speech celebrates the remarkable impact of the said occasion. It also commemorates the people who played vital roles in the event. 

However, commemorative speeches about significant events don’t just aim to recount past happenings. These are avenues where you, as the speaker, can implore the audience members to reflect and think about what they can do to preserve positive human values and embody the valuable learnings the event had put to the fore. 

Some topics that you can talk about include:

  1. The moon landing and Neil Armstong as the first man who set foot on the moon
  2. Historic expeditions and discoveries of countries by Ferdinand Magellan or Christopher Columbus
  3. The Pearl Harbor bombing and the brave individuals who lost their lives
  4. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and their victims and heroes
  5. Important women’s rights movement events, such as the graduation of Elizabeth Blackwell, who became the first female doctor in the US
  6. The Paris Agreement and how world leaders are uniting to combat climate change
  7. The coronavirus pandemic and the selfless act of healthcare heroes who stepped up to fight it

What Is An Example Of A Commemorative Speech?

There’s a multitude of commemorative speech topics that you can talk about. One example you can study is the eulogy by US President Barack Obama during the memorial service of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and an iconic human rights advocate.

Below is a part of the speech’s introduction: 

“To the people of South Africa — people of every race and walk of life — the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.  His struggle was your struggle.  His triumph was your triumph.  Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life.  And your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.”

In the body, he pondered the life and work of Mandela and what people can learn from it. Here’s a snippet:

“Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit.  There is a word in South Africa — Ubuntu, a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift:  his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.”

In his conclusion, he delivered a strong, respectful statement: “After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength.  Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell: ‘It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.’” 

Recent Posts