A commemorative speech is a type of talk typically given at special events to celebrate a person, group, event, situation, place, institution, idea, etc. or to recall (someone or something)/ show respect. It is also known as a ceremonial speech.
In US education context, it is the talk given during graduation ceremony (in colleges) in which students typically express gratitude/respect towards an academic institution and teaching staff, family, colleagues, etc., recall the good time they had in this environment as well as potential challenges, and highlight the importance of received education/skills for their future.
This diversity of occasions makes it quite frequently demanded and hence, important to master. A particular challenge for anyone facing this task is choosing an appropriate topic. Consulting lists of commemorative speech topics and general categories they fall into can help you save some time and is the equivalent of going through a series of brainstormed solutions.
Features of a Good Oral Presentation
A good commemorative speech has to grab attention of your audience and make them want to listen it to the end, understand it and be positively impressed by it. That is why your talk should be:
Engaging. This can be achieved in multiple ways – you must either try being creative and avoid clichés, introduce a little controversy (within reasonable limits), trigger powerful introspection and important comprehension, or try being funny while still paying tribute, for instance, consider some funny commemorative speech topics.
Inspiring – it is equally important that your talk is not only entertaining but also highlights values you revere and want to share, gratitude you want to express, the sanctity and value of what you are talking about. To inspire is often the main purposes of a commemorative speech.
Positive – obviously, an overly enthusiastic discourse can look unnatural, naïve, or boring, so it is important to compromise wisely on this aspect, but delivering a generally positive message is simply a must (in fact, even when commemorating a recently deceased, one should bring out the bright moments shared with him/her, the legacy, inspiring character traits, etc.). When considering commemorative speech topics for college students, the discourse should be both optimistic and empowering.
Relevant – stay maximally connected to the audience, refer to some collective memories (even recent events the US or your community have gone through) or to some relevant individual memories that would resonate with the audience. Always attempt being specific rather than general, mention real people, groups, teachers, events (this will help engage with the audience).
How to Choose a Good Commemorative Speech Topic
When you considering commemorative speech ideas for class assignments, ensure you follow these recommendations:
- Research – research online for potential topic lists, for videos of previous commemorative speeches at your university or other top universities throughout the US (there are dozens of similar performances on YouTube, including from celebrities).
- Brainstorm – doing this yourself, could help you come up with a very individual, original, or personally meaningful topic.
- Know your audience – as stated, to be relevant and adapt your oral presentation, you need to know who will be present during the ceremony (especially if you plan directly mentioning someone)
- Ensure topics are meaningful and that you have a message to deliver (the former almost guarantees the latter)
- Ensure your topic is not identical with that of other speakers – if you can’t check this aspect with your colleagues, opt for a maximally original topic.
Yet another option for identifying a topic or writing the entire performance is to contract a professional commemorative speech writing service that could assist you throughout the steps or help pick great topic. Just message us ‘write speech for me’ to get an expert assistance.
30 Commemorative Talk Categories for You to Choose
Ideas for commemorative speech may fall into different categories depending on the topic, value or event they celebrate:
- kindness/ benevolence
- wisdom/ understanding
- beauty (inner or outer)
- independence (personal, independence in thought)
- guilt (if used to highlight someone’s morals/visionary attitude or a historical injustice)
- visionary leadership
Read also: Good Persuasive Speech Topics
50 Best Commemorative Speech Topics
Here is a selection of 50 best topics for commemorative speeches to choose from and make your talk memorable:
- Tribute to a parent, sibling, colleague
- Tribute to an eminent personality
- Successful international collaboration in tackling the ozone depletion problem
- Successful landing on the Moon
- History of an invention (describing challenges and how they were overcome)
- Perseverance needed to win a major sports event
- Tribute to civil rights movement
- Tribute to women’s rights movement
- Value of humility in an egocentric world
- Celebrating Buddhist values (or other religion)
- What value freedom has for you and what form it takes
- Examples of inspiring and successful environmental activism
- Value of hope (bringing the crew of Apollo 13 back to Earth unharmed)
- Human courage (veterans, policemen)
- Courageous actions in tough situations (terrorist attacks)
- Selfless dedication in a teacher, parent, etc.
- Acts of compromise that marked maturity/personal evolution in your life
- Strength of character (in a historical figure or living person)
- Kindness as experienced by you or as seen in a historic personality
- Dreams (Nikola Tesla’s dreams)
- Darwin’s quest for truth despite fears of blasphemy
- Visionaries (Jules Verne)
- Hard working people that achieved success
- Creation of social media (Facebook)
- Inspiring collaboration examples (Human Genome Project)
- WW2 events (Pearl Harbor, landing in Normandy)
- Humanity’s striving for peace
- Inspiring examples of loyalty (war comrades, family, etc.)
- Examples of originality (Van Gogh’s art, Pollock, etc.)
- Artistic or scientific genius (Mozart, Newton)
- Human adaptability and overcoming challenges (astronauts on International Space Station)
- Independent thinking examples (Noam Chomsky, Charles Bukowski)
- Intellectual milestones (solving mathematical problems like Poincare conjecture)
- Disease eradication examples (worldwide eradication of poliomyelitis)
- Milestones in space exploration (landing Curiosity rover on Mars, Pluto flyby)
- Healthcare milestones (historic advances in treating AIDS)
- Global human milestones (the progress in fighting famine/ illiteracy)
- Colossal improvements in human lifespan worldwide
- Great travelers in history (Magellan, Columbus)
- Lifestyle and values of extinct people and civilizations (native Indians, Maya)
- Monumental discoveries (DNA structure)
- Birth of democracy (Magna Carta Libertatum act in Britain)
- First trip abroad – what you’ve learned about the outside world or about the US by taking a step back and evaluating. If you went as an exchange student, this topic could be used to highlight the positive aspects/strengths of your university/academic community
- Tribute to a great teacher or nurturing mentor
- Eulogy for a professor that taught a course at your university
- Quality of education received and opportunities opened by your academic institution
- Academic success achieved by your group and what it qualifies you for
- Success of your team in a sports event/league which was possible due to support from your university
- How you became family with your classmates/colleagues and what you learned
- How you transformed (intellectually, spiritually, morally) after enrolling in your college/university and how meaningful this transformation is
Read also: The Best Demonstration Speech Ideas
Edubirdie is Here to Save Your Day
This short guide offers only a few commemorative speech ideas – in reality, they are only limited by your imagination. Think about the message (brainstorm if needed), consider the basic recommendations provided above, and you’ll be on the right track.
If you are out of time or simply need the assistance of a professional speech writer, feel free to upload your task with necessary instructions to our online platform. You would be able to transparently evaluate bids placed by our professional writers checking their rating, number of completed orders, reviews and pick a favorite one. Note that you can benefit from unlimited revisions until you are satisfied with the job!