|Tucked in a folder in my desk are a few speeches I've collected over the years. Here are links
and a few observations on why they stood out:
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - a great orator also spoke that day ... for two hours. President
Lincoln's address was only two minutes. A lesson in being concise, and so profound. Each
word projects the conviction of the speaker and the hallowness of the ground.
Churchill's Finest Hour Speech - its long ... the last paragraph really says it all. Amid the many,
many great accomplishments of the British Empire, its gallant stand against the dark forces of
Nazism was indeed its finest hour. Eloquence can indeed rally a great people to a great task.
Patton's Great Speech - its full of bad language and derogatory talk of the enemy. But it says
it all ... get into life, live life. Life is about what you do at certain moments. Someday when we
look back, can we say we lived a good life?
Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream - greatness sees the whole picture. Martin Luther King
belonged to everyone. There are no limits, no "one side" to the table of brotherhood. The
choice of words and imagery is for the ages.
Robert F. Kennedy's Talk about the death of Martin Luther King - RFK entered into a most
dangerous situation with honesty. Amid the risk of racial turmoil, he deeply shared his own
pain in sincere dialogue to try and heal others.
John F. Kennedy Inauguration Speech - one of great speeches of all time ... a model of hope,
strength against our foes, offering the prospect of peace and cooperation, and much more.
Great leaders lay out ideas. This is a complete set of ideas for the best and brightest.
John F. Kennedy's Speech on Space - "we choose to go to the moon" ... Americans can
achieve anything. Setting noble goals in the midst of failure took style as well as faith in
Ronald Reagan, 40th Anniversary of Normandy (at Pointe du Hoc) - nobody knew better how
to connect with people than the "Greatest Communicator". The "boys of Pointe du Hoc" will
be forever etched into history for their valor and victory in World War II as well as the example
they played in this speech as Ronald Reagan articulated the eventual defeat of communism
Ronald Reagan, Challenger Speech - the comforting words of a leader consoled the families
of the crew and re-assured the world that space exploration must continue in their memory ...
because it "dazzles us ". The President brought us all closer to "touching the face of God".
Pope John Paul II Speech to Jewish Leaders - Pope John Paul the Great brought so much
healing to Jews and Christians, and reflects on "man's contempt for man". One can't help
but wonder about his words of our "common father in faith, Abraham" ... and our relations
with Islam. The image of this humble servant of God that is forever etched in my mind is from
another day ... when he went to a jail cell to forgive his would be Islamic assassin.
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