READ: Special Occasion Speeches

4 Other Tribute Speeches

Other Tribute Speeches

An anniversary speech is given to celebrate an occasion such as a wedding, class reunion, or a personal event or accomplishment. It would be appropriate, for example, to give a tribute speech at the commemoration of a colleague’s twenty years of service or at another colleague’s retirement party.

Dedicatory speeches are given at a gravesite or at the site of a new building or monument. Again, select the appropriate language for the occasion and for the audience. For most dedicatory speeches, you must also do some research before you start talking about the event. Knowing the dates involved, the people responsible, the donors, and all of the background facts will enable you to contribute meaningful remarks to the event.

Perhaps the most famous of all dedicatory speeches is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated to the unfinished work, which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Isn’t the Gettysburg Address wonderful? Even though the occasion was the dedication of a national cemetery. It's great how Abraham Lincoln used the important lesson of the personal and human approach to his audience.

Spend some time selecting your special occasion topic. Try to visualize where you will be speaking, who the audience will be, and how you can make a difference.