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Communication is the thread that binds our society together. Effective communicators are able to use the thread (communication skills) to shape the future. To be an effective communicator, one must know how to put words together that communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings. These thoughts, ideas, and feelings are then expressed in writing or delivered orally. Some individuals are immortalized because of their ability to put words together. A few examples of those who have been immortalized are Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill. Consider the impact of their messages.
Words will move people to action. Patrick Henry’s words were a moving force behind one of the sparks that ignited the Revolutionary War in 1775. The impact of that revolution is well known to all Americans. Many Americans are familiar with his speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. The most familiar part of his speech is “ I know not what course or give me death!” (North American Biographies, 1994,92)
Words show an individual’s commitment and can be very inspirational. Nathan Hale (Ubbelohde, 1993, 710) needed only these 14 words to show his commitment to his cause: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” These words are committed to memory by many and are still inspiring.
One of the most famous speeches ever delivered was Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Kane (1989,100) refers to the speech as an immortal address. It is debatable as to whether the opening lines “ Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” or the closing lines “… and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth” are most familiar to Americans.
Another speech of significant magnitude was delivered by Winston Churchill. (1940, 572) His words not only lifted the spirits of the British but also were motivational to those committed to the Allied cause.
We shall go on the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the
Seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
The power of the written and spoken word can have a significant impact on the lives of those who hear or read it. Developing at using the spoken and written word is important to a person’s success. Not everyone can be immortalized by their words, but
everyone can have an impact on those with whom they associate by being skilled at using the written and spoken word.
Churchill, Winston. “We shall fight in the Fields and in the Streets.” London, June 4,
1940. Quoted by William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon
& Schuster, 1993.
Henry, Patrick. “Liberty or Death.” Richmond, VA, March 23, 1775. Quoted in North
American Biographies, Vol. 6. Danbury CT: Grolier Education Corporation,
Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” Gettysburg, PA, November 19, 1863.
Quoted by Joseph Nathan Kane, Facts About the President, and 5th ed. New York:
The H. W. Wilson Company, 1989
Ubbelohde, Carl. “Hale, Nathan.” The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition.
Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated, 1993.
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British people, Government of the United Kingdom, Politics of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom, We shall fight on the beaches, Gettysburg Address, Rhetorical techniques, Shall and will, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nathan Hale, Asyndeton
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