Han Solo and the problem of backstory stories
Joss Whedon and writing what you know

Confessions of a Memorial Day speechwriter

In a past life, I was one of those paid staffers that cranked out news releases for elected politicians.  I also dabbled in speech writing.

Memorial Day was therefore a big thing for me, a holiday weekend I dreaded at least as much as I looked forward to it.

My speeches themselves were pretty successful.  At least the people who gave them liked them and said the audience seemed to as well.  I tried to keep things brief and fell back on the usual formula:  mention General John A. Logan's original order creating the holiday, maybe quote a poem about loss, and add some personal items for the person giving the speech.

A lot of writing is pretty mechanical in that sense, which I why I feel journalism should be treated as a skilled trade.  In any event, making a job out of anything takes away some of the awe and mystery.

Since those days, I try to contemplate the holidays more, and I admit that knowing people killed in the present war is part of that. 

The other thing I learned from that time is that people who "get" Memorial Day don't really need any persuasion while those who don't, probably aren't going to be converted by a speech (or a blog post).

Still, I couldn't let this weekend pass without pointing out that it's about more than good weather and time away from work.

 

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)