“It is sweet to serve one’s country by deeds, and it is not absurd to serve her by words.”
– Sallust, c. 40 B.C.
As we approach Independence Day this year, you may be asked to give a speech at a celebration party. If you are, what will you say?
In today’s article, you will learn how to give a patriotic speech that could change your listener’s lives!
Catching Your Audience’s Attention
Before you launch into the main part of your speech, you need to catch your audience’s attention. According to statistics I have heard, you must captivate your listeners within ten seconds or risk losing their attention.
Make sure that your first sentence presents an interesting piece of information that will make your hearers want to know what you will say next.
Method #1: Recite A Patriotic Fact
Enumerating an interesting fact – particularly one with statistics – can be a great way to make people perk up.
Some facts you could use include:
- Independence Day was first celebrated on July 8th!
- Ours is the longest lasting constitution
- $3 million – the dollar value of imported American flags
Method #2: Deliver A Quote
Reciting a stirring patriotic quote – such as one by a founding father – can be an excellent way to start your speech.
Some of my favorite quotes for July 4th include:
- “Give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry
- “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” – George Washington
If you are looking for accurate and well-sourced quotes by our founders, I have the perfect solution… but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Trust me, it’s worth waiting for! (Update: Resource now released.)
Method #3: Ask A Question
One of the best ways to make your audience really think is by asking a question. Statements are easy to “tune out” but questions really force people to think.
Depending on the subject of your speech you could ask:
- What did our founders think about ______?
- What makes America unique?
- What does freedom really mean?
Basically, just think of an interesting question that leads smoothly into your speech.
The Meat Of Your Speach
Once you have your listeners hanging on your every word, it is time to start giving them a few more words to hang on. It is time for the body of your speech
Here are some good components to include in the main part of your speech.
Component #1: Answer Your Question
If you asked a question in your opener, this component would be the obvious next step.
For instance, if you asked what the founders thought about a certain topic, this would be a natural time to recite a few related quotes or perhaps narrate an interesting story… or both.
Component #2: Reminisce About What America Means To You
Tell your audience a story or two about how the United States has played a part in your life.
Probably my favorite Independence Day speech ever was one I heard a couple of years ago. The gentleman speaking was a refuge who had suffered persecution for his Christian faith before escaping to freedom in America. As he compared the danger of his home country with the safety of America (barbed wire fences there were as common as door bolts are here), I was deeply impressed by the freedom we still have in the “land of the free”.
Component #3: Refer To A Local Landmark
Particularly if you are speaking to a group of strangers, referencing a local feature and relating it to your speech can be an excellent way to find common ground with your audience. When you can help your listeners to identify with you, you will be able to communicate better with them.
Component #4: Praise Our Soldiers
No matter what our stance on war and our current interventionist foreign policy, we owe our brave soldiers a large vote of thanks.
While we may (and often should) take issue with our politicians for their warlike tendencies, we should never blame our soldiers.
Our soldiers risk their lives repeatedly to defend us and keep freedom alive. Let us never forget to praise these courageous patriots!
Component #5: Praise Our Statesmen (Not Politicians)
Like our soldiers, our statesmen (those politicians who, like George Washington, stand for freedom rather than personal gain) also deserve praise. If our great nation is to survive another 200 years, it will only be through the intervention of God in raising up another generation of statesmen like our founders.
Take the opportunity as we celebrate independence to praise the men who “serve our country with their words” (to paraphrase Sallust).
On a day which is becoming increasing commercial, let us be the exception. While others spend the day roasting hotdogs and the night lighting fireworks, let us return the emphasis to the true reason: freedom.
What are your plans for Independence Day?