Quintessential Speechwriting Services: Sample Speech
Note: This sample speech was written in 1990 and evokes events that occurred in 1989. While these events are no longer timely the speech shows how current events can be incorporated into an inspiring speech. This speech won an Award of Distinction from the Florida Public Relations Association.
Thank you for that kind of introduction. It is a very special pleasure to be with you.
I’d like to begin with some snapshots from 1989 an astonishing year in the history of this planet.
In Czechoslovakia… one of the first things citizens did when the communist government was toppled was line up to buy books that formerly had been banned.
In Hungary… parents took their children with them to the polls so they could experience first-hand the joy of voting in a free election.
In Rumania… citizens exulting in the ability to speak freely for the first time wanted to know about western education. “What are the schools like?” they asked.
And in China… It was the students who started it all. Who can ever forget the images of the goddess of democracy and the lone defiant student who dared a tank to run him down?
Because of technology that makes Earth an ever-shrinking planet those images were seen all over the world. And it is because of those images of students willing to stand up starve themselves and die for freedom that events unthinkable a year ago have transpired.
Knowledge was the catalyst.
Knowledge inspired the Chinese students. In the best sense of the domino theory knowledge spurred the revolution in Eastern Europe. And it was knowledge that toppled the Berlin Wall.
It is knowledge that sets people free. And it is education that assures freedom and democracy.
I’d like to talk to you tonight about why our young people must never lose sight of the importance of freedom… about education as the key to preserving liberty… and about how we as citizens of the oldest and best constitutional democracy in the world have a responsibility to protect our position as leaders of the free world — through education.
Let us look at another snapshot from Czechoslovakia: a construction yard. A man in grimy overalls clambers up to a platform to address his co-workers: “We hold these truths to be self-evident” he says. “That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights. That among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
It’s the American ideal.
It is people willing to give up everything for the liberties Americans take for granted. After all we not only don’t take our children to the polls — we don’t even vote. A recent University of Florida study showed that Florida ranks 44th nationally in voter registration and 45th in voter turnout.
A Tampa Tribune editorial recently posed the question: What if 50 years from now students thought the Berlin Wall was the creation of crayon-happy graffiti artists? What if they didn’t know the wall was a dark symbol of state oppression — and a death trap. What if they didn’t know the wall was the site of President John F. Kennedy’s stirring “I am a Berliner” speech in which he said:
“Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in…”
We must never let our young people forget.
Our founding leaders saw education as the way to preserve liberty secure unity promote good citizenship and develop resources of the land and people.
They believed education is the beacon that guides our democratic destiny… the bedrock of our freedom… the foundation… the strength… the lifeblood of this nation.
John Adams believed that knowledge alone could preserve people from tyranny. John Jay considered “Knowledge to be the soul of a republic.” James Madison declared that “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives.”
Education is the foundation of public progress in a democracy.
Education is the essence of the Jeffersonian democracy that elevated the United States from a backward land of rebellious colonists to the greatest most spirited powerful and successful nation in the world.
But there are those who worry that America’s youth are alarmingly unprepared to keep democracy alive into the 21st century.
They may be right.
But it is up to you and me to ensure that our children DO keep democracy alive.
It is up to us to teach our children the responsibility of liberty and instill in them the belief — as the Japanese have — that NOTHING is more important than education.
It is only through that belief that America can remain the leader of the free world.
At the threshold of the 21st century the same technology that allowed the whole world to see the struggle of the Chinese students is changing in the blink of an eye. We need all the education we can get to keep up.
The globalization of the marketplace including Japan the European Common Market — and very possibly our onetime communist adversaries — presents a daunting competitive challenge. But also presents opportunity.
It is the same kind of opportunity we grabbed in 1957 when the soviets launched Sputnik. We rededicated ourselves to education and created a small renaissance in our schools — and a shining space program that put humans on the moon. It is once again time for that commitment. If we can make an all-out commitment to education our state and nation can achieve greatness as a major player in the new global economy.
The cost if we fall? Perhaps importing foreign workers with better skills or exporting the more demanding jobs… losing our quality of life. Ultimately we face the prospect of passing the torch of world leadership onto another country.
To stay on top we need to develop the leaders of tomorrow. The leaders for the 21st century are in our schools right now. They are our best hope for keeping our citizenry informed teaching the next generation of leaders and ensuring that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren never take for granted their liberty and freedom.
Southeast Banking Corporation chairman Charles Zwick recently wrote: “It’s often said that the electorate gets the leaders it deserves. An informed electorate demanding more of its state government stands a better chance of being rewarded with the innovative and courageous leadership that we need badly.”
Once again we see the power of knowledge… the power of informed citizens exercising what the eastern Europeans know is the precious right to vote.
“Education is the engine of democracy and the balance wheel of society” said Horace Mann.
Let us commit ourselves with a fierce dedication to education. For education is nothing less than the key to a strong free proud nation and the cornerstone of our liberty and freedom.
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