Best Eulogies Ever Written: Celebrating Lives and Legacies Table of Contents
A eulogy is a powerful tribute to a life that has ended. It's a chance to honor the person who has passed away, to celebrate their accomplishments and to reflect on the impact they had on the world around them. Over the years, there have been many memorable eulogies, delivered by family members, friends, and even public figures. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best eulogies ever written and the legacies they celebrated.
"I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King Jr.
While not a traditional eulogy, Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech at the funeral of three civil rights workers in 1964 is widely regarded as one of the most powerful eulogies ever delivered. In his speech, King reflected on the sacrifices of the young men who had given their lives in the fight for racial equality and urged the crowd to continue the struggle for justice and freedom.
"The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln
Another famous speech that has been referred to as a eulogy is Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Delivered during the height of the Civil War, Lincoln's speech honored the soldiers who had given their lives on the battlefield and reminded the nation of the importance of the cause for which they had fought.
"A Eulogy for Dad" by Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs' eulogy for his father, delivered in 2011, is a poignant tribute to a man who played a significant role in his life. Jobs spoke of his father's love of nature, his commitment to education, and his unwavering integrity. He also shared personal anecdotes that revealed the close relationship he had with his dad.
"My Brother" by Bobby Kennedy
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Bobby Kennedy's eulogy for his brother John F. Kennedy, delivered in 1963, is a moving tribute to a beloved sibling. Kennedy spoke of his brother's accomplishments, his dedication to public service, and the impact he had on the world. He also shared personal stories that provided insight into the Kennedy family's close bond.
"The Duty of a Patriot" by Colin Powell
Colin Powell's eulogy for Ronald Reagan, delivered in 2004, celebrated the life and legacy of one of America's most beloved presidents. Powell spoke of Reagan's leadership, his optimism, and his commitment to freedom and democracy. He also shared personal anecdotes that revealed the deep affection and respect he had for the former president.
These eulogies represent just a few examples of the powerful tributes that have been delivered throughout history. They remind us of the importance of celebrating the lives and legacies of those we have lost and of the enduring power of words to comfort, heal, and inspire.
"Remembering Whitney Houston" by Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner's eulogy for Whitney Houston, delivered in 2012, celebrated the life and talent of one of the greatest singers of our time. Costner reflected on Houston's struggles with addiction and the challenges she faced throughout her life, but also emphasized her incredible talent and the impact she had on the music industry. He closed his eulogy with a moving tribute to Houston's daughter, urging her to carry on her mother's legacy.
"For Jack" by Jackie Kennedy
Jackie Kennedy's eulogy for her husband John F. Kennedy, delivered in 1963, is a timeless tribute to a beloved president and husband. Kennedy spoke of her husband's love of poetry, his dedication to public service, and the special moments they shared together. She also reflected on his legacy and the impact he had on the world, closing her eulogy with the famous quote, "He belongs to the ages now."
"In Memory of My Mother" by Patrick Kavanagh
Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh's poem "In Memory of My Mother" is a beautiful and haunting eulogy to his mother. In the poem, Kavanagh reflects on the small moments and memories that defined his relationship with his mother and the impact she had on his life. He closes the poem with a heartbreaking line that captures the pain of losing a loved one: "I do not think of you lying in the wet clay / Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see / You walking down a lane among the poplars / On your way to the station, or happily / Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday."
"The Memorial Service" by Billy Graham
Billy Graham's eulogy for President Richard Nixon, delivered in 1994, is a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiveness and redemption. Graham spoke of Nixon's accomplishments and his dedication to public service, but also acknowledged the mistakes he had made during his presidency. He closed his eulogy with a message of hope and forgiveness, urging the congregation to remember Nixon's legacy of service and to extend grace and compassion to others.
"The Dash" by Linda Ellis
While not a traditional eulogy, Linda Ellis' poem "The Dash" has become a popular tribute to loved ones who have passed away. The poem reflects on the importance of the "dash" - the time between a person's birth and death - and encourages readers to live their lives with purpose and passion. It's a powerful reminder of the impact we can have on the world and the importance of cherishing every moment.
In conclusion, these eulogies - speeches, poems, and tributes - all remind us of the importance of celebrating the lives and legacies of those we have lost. Whether delivered by famous figures or by everyday people, these eulogies serve as powerful reminders of the impact a single life can have on the world.