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Chapter 21. Persuasive Speeches > Proactive Problem-Solvers - Pg. 176

Persuasive Speeches 6. 7. 8. 176 9. 10. Weave background information into the stories you tell so that the newest friends feel included. Make long-time friends and colleagues a part of your tribute by quoting them. Write from your heart. Avoid lofty, overblown sentences. See how Robert F. Kennedy opened his 1968 eulogy for Martin Luther King Jr. with these words from his heart: "I have bad news for you, all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight." Address people directly. Use their names, as in "Seymore Glass said that...." End on an emotional, memorable, quotable note. Secretary of War Stanton's words on the death of Abraham Lincoln have become famous for their tightly packed emotion: "Now he belongs to the ages." In the death of Allen Ginsberg, we have lost a teacher, a friend, and an example of how to be a genuine poet in the larger social and political community. Allen did not invent anything about himself; he was the real thing. He was forthright, brilliant, cranky, generous, and unapologetic. He did what few, if any, literary, social, or political figures are able to do; he brought his work off the page and dared to be himself. For the past 40 years, his work has encouraged, enraged, and served all of us as physical evidence of the vital role of the poet in society. It has defended our existence; that artists are a necessity, not a luxury. Allen showed us that as writers, artists, and performers, we must speak our individual truths and defend the First Amendment with who we are, not just with what we do. He has been an example to those of us struggling to stay awake, to truly breathe freely in our own skins, with our own names, and to leave this often dark and intolerant world a bit better than we found it. He pried open the door to the room where poetry has enough power to change the world. He put his body in the door jamb, using his own life, his own voice as the proving ground for what he believed. He used his 70 years, in part, to block that door open so others might walk through. So you and I might walk through. So we may breathe life and change into a world that desperately needs it. So we might make a difference. As a mentor he is irreplaceable; as a living symbol of the kind of freedoms we are daily denied, he will live on. He believed in the power of Art to raise buildings and shift armies, to conjure love, make us laugh, and turn the soul to catch the light. Here's a model eulogy for Beat poet Allen Ginsberg: He will be remembered. He will be missed. He will not be forgotten. --Anonymous Proactive Problem-Solvers Class Act