What makes any farewell speech great? Is it the emotions conveyed, the words used, the passion of delivery, or the person behind the podium? One could read about hundreds of addresses and famous farewell speeches coming from all kinds of people and one could say that there are certain qualities that make these famous farewell speeches simply unforgettable.
The most famous farewell speeches all exhibit three great qualities: organization, reason, and passion. Organization refers to the structure of the message itself. It must have a sense of order and at the same time a sense of authenticity. Reason pertains to the purpose, the logic behind the why and the what. Effective famous farewell speeches do not focus solely on the parting act. Instead, famous farewell speeches encourage and lead the audience to a path filled with something to look forward to, a path filled with hope. Passion is the manner of expression and delivery. Sometimes even the manuscripts of the most famous farewell speeches lose their meaning and spirit when speakers fail to deliver them with zeal and faith.
The following are two of the most famous farewell speeches ever given in the history of politics and sports.
1. Abraham Lincoln’s Farewell Address
Everyone knew that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is considered as his finest. Lincoln is an accomplished leader who came from a long fighting journey before reaching the peak of his career and person. Throughout his leadership, he has changed a big part of how Americans perceive equality and freedom. His famous farewell speeches to the different institutions he served were a testament to how passionate a leader he was. Of all his famous farewell speeches, the address he gave in Springfield, Illinois was the most remarkable.
Though many other presidential famous farewell speeches have been given, Lincoln’s farewell address stands out as a simple but classic rhetorical piece. His message was simple and brief. Everything he needed to say to the people he once led, he expressed in non-condescending language. And best of all, he acknowledged that everything he ever did was because of God’s help.
2. Lou Gehrig’s Famous Farewell Speech
Lou Gehrig, or better known as the “Iron Horse”, was one of the best hitters in baseball history. His stint as a baseball player in the formidable New York Yankees team was full of unforgettable playing records. Sadly, at age 38, a serious ailment struck him. Knowing well that it’s time for him to rest his cap, he gave one of the most famous farewell speeches in sports history.
Unlike other famous farewell speeches, there was nothing so grandiose about his speech. Yes, he was diagnosed with a fatal disease but he wanted his teammates, co-athletes, coaches, and fans to remember not how his career as a sportsman abruptly ended, but to take into account the beauty of all life’s blessings. His speech was filled with a heartfelt appreciation of all the great men and women who inspired and helped him succeed. He did not make such a big fuss about himself but rather gave all the credit to the people who made him who he was.
So, what makes these famous farewell speeches great? Is it the emotions, the words, or the man? The answer is all of the above and, more. At the end of the day, all famous farewell speeches thug at the heartstrings and somewhat ease the pain of impending separation.