Last Word Eulogies has assembled free famous eulogies. A great eulogy or farewell speech is written for, and presented by prominent people. You are free to cut and paste.
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Each of the funeral speeches below was presented at the funeral or memorial service of a famous person. Many have become infamous.
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|Eulogy for:||Presented by:|
|Ronald Reagan||President Bush|
|Rev Dr. Martin Luther King||Robert F. Kennedy|
|Gerald R. Ford||Tom Brokaw|
|Edward Kennedy||President Obama|
|Diana Spencer, Princess of Whales||Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer|
|Michael Jackson||Paris Jackson|
|Stanley Kubrick||Edward Champion|
|Mahatma Ghandi||Jawaharlal Nehru|
|Rosa Parks||Oprah Winfrey|
Ronald Reagan's Eulogy presented by President Bush
Mrs. Reagan, Patti, Michael and Ron, members of the Reagan family, distinguished guests, including our presidents and first ladies, Reverend Danforth, fellow citizens, we lost Ronald Reagan only days ago but we have missed him for a long time. We have missed his kindly presence, that reassuring voice and the happy ending we had wished for him.
It has been 10 years since he said his own farewell, yet it is still very sad and hard to let him go.
Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us.
In a life of good fortune, he valued above all the gracious gift of his wife, Nancy. During his career, Ronald Reagan passed through a thousand crowded places, but there was only one person, he said, who could make him lonely by just leaving the room.
America honors you, Nancy, for the loyalty and love you gave this man on a wonderful journey and to that journey's end.
Today, our whole nation grieves with you and your family.
When the sun sets tonight off the coast of California and we lay to rest our 40th president, a great American story will close.
The second son of Nell and Jack Reagan first knew the world as a place of open plains, quiet streets, gas-lit rooms and carriages drawn by horse.
If you could go back to the Dixon, Illinois, of 1922, you'd find a boy of 11 reading adventure stories at the public library or running with his brother Neil along Rock River, and coming home to a little house on Hennepin Avenue.
That town was the kind of place he remembered where you prayed side by side with your neighbors. And if things were going wrong for them, you prayed for them and knew they'd pray for you if things went wrong for you.
The Reagan family would see its share of hardship, struggle and uncertainty.
And out of that circumstance came a young man of steadiness, calm and a cheerful confidence that life would bring good things.
The qualities all of us have seen in Ronald Reagan were first spotted 70 and 80 years ago. As the lifeguard in Lowell Park, he was the protector, keeping an eye out for trouble.
As a sports announcer on the radio, he was the friendly voice that made you see the game as he did.
As an actor he was the handsome all-American good guy, which in his case required knowing his lines and being himself.
Along the way certain convictions were formed and fixed in the man.
Ronald Reagan believed that everything happens for a reason and that we should strive to know and do the will of God. He believed that the gentleman always does the kindest thing. He believed that people were basically good and had the right to be free. He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of. He believed in the golden rule and in the power of prayer. He believed that America was not just a place in the world, but the hope of the world.
And he believed in taking a break now and then, because, as we said, there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.
Ronald Reagan spent decades in the film industry and in politics, fields known on occasion to change a man - but not this man. From Dixon to Des Moines to Hollywood to Sacramento to Washington, D.C., all who met him remembered the same sincere, honest, upright fellow.
Ronald Reagan's deepest beliefs never had much to do with fashion or convenience. His convictions were always politely stated, affably argued, and as firm and straight as the columns of this cathedral.
There came a point in Ronald Reagan's film career when people started seeing a future beyond the movies. The actor Robert Cummings recalled one occasion.
"I was sitting around the set with all these people and we were listening to Ronnie, quite absorbed. I said, 'Ron, have you ever considered some day becoming president?'
"He said, 'President of what?'
"'President of the United States,' I said.
"And he said, 'What's the matter? Don't you like my acting either?'"
The clarity and intensity of Ronald Reagan's convictions led to speaking engagements around the country, and a new following he did not seek or expect.
He often began his speeches by saying, "I'm going to talk about controversial things."And then he spoke of communist rulers as slave masters, of a government in Washington that had far overstepped its proper limits, of a time for choosing that was drawing near.
In the space of a few years, he took ideas and principles that were mainly found in journals and books and turned them into a broad, hopeful movement ready to govern.
As soon as Ronald Reagan became California's governor, observers saw a star in the west, tanned, well-tailored, in command and on his way. In the 1960s his friend Bill Buckley wrote, "Reagan is indisputably a part of America and he may become a part of American history."
Ronald Reagan's moment arrived in 1980.He came out ahead of some very good men, including one from Plains and one from Houston. What followed was one of the decisive decades of the century as the convictions that shaped the president began to shape the times.
He came to office with great hopes for America. And more than hopes. Like the president he had revered and once saw in person, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan matched an optimistic temperament with bold, persistent action.
President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the rewards and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required.
He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.
And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon he called that evil by its name.
There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American president had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall that the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.
The ideology he opposed throughout his political life insisted that history was moved by impersonal tides and unalterable fates. Ronald Reagan believed instead in the courage and triumph of free men and we believe it all the more because we saw that courage in him.
As he showed what a president should be, he also showed us what a man should be.
Ronald Reagan carried himself, even in the most powerful office, with the decency and attention to small kindnesses that also define a good life.
He was a courtly, gentle and considerate man, never known to slight or embarrass others.
Many people across the country cherish letters he wrote in his own hand to family members on important occasions, to old friends dealing with sickness and loss, to strangers with questions about his days in Hollywood.
A boy once wrote to him requesting federal assistance to help clean up his bedroom.
The president replied that, "Unfortunately, funds are dangerously low."
He continued, "I'm sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster...
"... therefore you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program in our nation.
See, our 40th president wore his title lightly, and it fit like a white Stetson.
In the end, through his belief in our country and his love for our country, he became an enduring symbol of our country.
We think of the steady stride, that tilt of the head and snap of the salute, the big screen smile, and the glint in his Irish eyes when a story came to mind.
We think of a man advancing in years with the sweetness and sincerity of a scout saying the pledge. We think of that grave expression that sometimes came over his face, the seriousness of a man angered by injustice and frightened by nothing.
We know, as he always said, that America's best days are ahead of us.But with Ronald Reagan's passing, some very fine days are behind us. And that is worth our tears.
Americans saw death approach Ronald Reagan twice in a moment of violence and then in the years of departing light. He met both with courage and grace. In these trials, he showed how a man so enchanted by life can be at peace with life's end.
And where does that strength come from? Where is that courage learned? It is the faith of a boy who read the Bible with his mom. It is the faith of a man lying in an operating room who prayed for the one who shot him before he prayed for himself. It is the faith of a man with a fearful illness who waited on the Lord to call him home.
Now death has done all that death can do, and as Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with the joyful hope he shared.
In his last years he saw through a glass darkly. Now he sees his savior face to face.
And we look for that fine day when we will see him again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure and smiling again, and the sorrow of this parting gone forever.
May God bless Ronald Reagan and the country he loved.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Eulogy presented by Robert F. Kennedy
"For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred ... against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed....
Martin Luther King, the American civil rights leader and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, was born in Montgomery, Alabama. He rose to prominence in the civil rights movement of the 1950s, led the famous March on Washington in 1963, and the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. A brilliant orator and writer, whose insistence upon nonviolence in the Gandhian tradition accounted for the success of the movement; Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, by a white man.
On the day King was assassinated, Sen. Robert Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was on his way to a campaign rally in a black section of the city when he heard that King had been killed. His aides strongly urged him not to go to the rally, that he would be endangering his life. But Kennedy insisted, and he stood upon the back of a flatbed truck and delivered the following extemporaneous eulogy. Less than two months later, Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.
I have bad news for you, for all our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.
In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black - considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization - black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.
Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand that compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "In our sleep pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of injustice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black...
We've had difficult times in the past. We will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Good luck!
Gerald R. Ford Eulogy presented by Tom Brokaw
Mrs. Ford, members of the Ford family, President and Mrs. Bush, Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, President and Mrs. Bush, President and Mrs. Carter, President and Mrs. Clinton, distinguished guests, my fellow Americans; it's a great privilege and an honor for me to be here.
For the past week, we have been hearing the familiar lyrics of the hymns to the passing of a famous man, the hosannas to his decency, his honesty, his modesty and his steady-as-she-goes qualities. It's what we've come to expect on these occasions.
But this time there was extra value, for in the case of Gerald Ford, these lyrics have the added virtue of being true.
Sometimes there are two versions to these hymns - one public and one private, separate and discordant. But in Gerald Ford, the man he was in public, he was also that man in private.
Gerald Ford brought to the political arena no demons, no hidden agenda, no hit list or acts of vengeance. He knew who he was and he didn't require consultants or gurus to change him. Moreover, the country knew who he was and despite occasional differences, large and small, it never lost its affection for this man from Michigan, the football player, the lawyer and the veteran, the Congressman and suburban husband, the champion of Main Street values who brought all of those qualities to the White House.
Once there, he stayed true to form, never believing that he was suddenly wiser and infallible because he drank his morning coffee from a cup with a presidential seal.
He didn't seek the office. And yet, as he told his friend, the late, great journalist Hugh Sidey, he was not frightened of the task before him.
We could identify with him - all of us - for so many reasons. Among them, we were all trapped in what passed for style in the 70's with a wardrobe with lapels out to here, white belts, plaid jackets and trousers so patterned that they would give you a migraine. The rest of us have been able to destroy most of the evidence of our fashion meltdown, but presidents are not so lucky. Those David Kennerly photographs are reminders of his endearing qualities, but some of those jackets - I think that they're eligible for a presidential pardon or at least a digital touch-up.
As a journalist, I was especially grateful for his appreciation of our role, even when we challenged his policies and taxed his patience with our constant presence and persistence. We could be adversaries but we were never his enemy, and that was a welcome change in status from his predecessor's time.
To be a member of the Gerald Ford White House press corps brought other benefits as well as we documented a nation and a world in transition, in turmoil. We accompanied him to audiences with the notorious and the merely powerful. We saw Tito, Franco, Sadat, Marcos, Suharto, the shah of Iran, the emperor of Japan, China with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping all at once, what was then the Soviet Union and Vladivostock with Leonid Brezhnev, and Helsinki at one of the most remarkable gatherings of leaders in the 20th century.
There were other advantages to being a member of his press corps that we didn't advertise quite as widely. We went to Vail at Christmas and Palm Springs at Easter time with our families. Now cynics might argue that contributed to our affection for him. That is not a premise that I wish to challenge.
One of our colleagues, Jim Naughton of The New York Times, personified the spirit that existed in the relationship. He bought from a San Diego radio station promoter a large mock chicken head that had attracted the president's attention at a G.O.P. rally. And then, giddy from 20-hour days and an endless repetition of the same campaign speech, Naughton decided to wear that chicken head to a Ford news conference in Oregon with the enthusiastic encouragement of the president and his chief of staff, Dick Cheney.
In the next news cycle, the chicken head was a bigger story than the president. And no one was more pleased than the man that we honor here today in this august ceremony.
When the president called me last year and asked me if I would participate in these services, I think he wanted to be sure that the White House press corps was represented: the writers, correspondents and producers, the cameramen, photographers, the technicians and the chicken.
He also brought something else to the White House, of course. He brought the humanity that comes with a family that seemed to be living right next door. He was every parent when he said my children have spoken for themselves since they were old enough to speak - and not always with my approval. I expect that to continue in the future.
And was there a more supportive husband in America than when his beloved Carol began to speak out on issues that were not politically correct at the time. Together, they put on the front pages and in the leads of the evening newscasts the issues that had been underplayed in America for far too long.
My colleague Bob Schieffer called him the nicest man he ever met in politics. To that I would only add the most underestimated.
In many ways I believe football was a metaphor for his life in politics and after. He played in the middle of the line. He was a center, a position that seldom receives much praise. But he had his hands on the ball for every play and no play could start without him. And when the game was over and others received the credit, he didn't whine or whimper.
But then he came from a generation accustomed to difficult missions, shaped by the sacrifices and the depravations of the Great Depression, a generation that gave up its innocence and youth to then win a great war and save the world. And when that generation came home from war, they were mature beyond their years and eager to make the world they had saved a better place. They re-enlisted as citizens and set out to serve their country in new ways, with political differences but always with the common goal of doing what's best for the nation and all the people.
When he entered the Oval Office, by fate not by design, Citizen Ford knew that he was not perfect, just as he knew he was not perfect when he left. But what president ever was?
But he was prepared because he had served his country every day of his adult life and he left the Oval Office a much better place. The personal rewards of his citizenship and his presidency were far richer than he had anticipated in every sense of the phrase.
But the greatest rewards of Jerry Ford's time were reserved for his fellow Americans and the nation he loved.
Farewell, Mr. President. Thank you, Citizen Ford.
Edward Kennedy's presented by President Obama
Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate - a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.
But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage," or "The Big Cheese." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend.
Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers' teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It'll be the same in Washington."
This spirit of resilience and good humor would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.
It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.
But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, "(I)individual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in - and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves." Indeed, Ted was the "Happy Warrior" that the poet William Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others - the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed - the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children's health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act - all have a running thread.
Ted Kennedy's life's work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.
We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers' rights or civil rights. And yet, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did.
While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him. He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect - a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.
And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause - not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor.
There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch's support for the Children's Health Insurance Program by having his chief of staff serenade the senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; and the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas committee chairman on an immigration bill.
Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan's favorite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman. When they weren't, he would pull it back. Before long, the deal was done.
Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales presented by her brother Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer
I stand before you today the representative of a family in grief, in a country in mourning before a world in shock.
We are all united not only in our desire to pay our respects to Diana but rather in our need to do so.
For such was her extraordinary appeal that the tens of millions of people taking part in this service all over the world via television and radio who never actually met her, feel that they, too, lost someone close to them in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is a more remarkable tribute to Diana than I can ever hope to offer her today.
Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard-bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a truly British girl who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was classless, who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.
Today is our chance to say "thank you" for the way you brightened our lives, even though God granted you but half a life. We will all feel cheated that you were taken from us so young and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all.
Only now you are gone do we truly appreciate what we are now without and we want you to know that life without you is very, very difficult.
We have all despaired at our loss over the past week and only the strength of the message you gave us through your years of giving has afforded us the strength to move forward.
There is a temptation to rush to canonize your memory. There is no need to do so. You stand tall enough as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint. Indeed to sanctify your memory would be to miss out on the very core of your being, your wonderfully mischievous sense of humor with the laugh that bent you double, your joy for life transmitted wherever you took your smile, and the sparkle in those unforgettable eyes, your boundless energy which you could barely contain.
But your greatest gift was your intuition, and it was a gift you used wisely. This is what underpinned all your wonderful attributes. And if we look to analyze what it was about you that had such a wide appeal, we find it in your instinctive feel for what was really important in all our lives.
Without your God-given sensitivity, we would be immersed in greater ignorance at the anguish of AIDS and HIV sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of lepers, the random destruction of land mines. Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency of the rejected.
And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana remained throughout a very insecure person at heart, almost childlike in her desire to do good for others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness of which her eating disorders were merely a symptom.
The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her for her vulnerability, whilst admiring her for her honesty. The last time I saw Diana was on July the first, her birthday, in London, when typically she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a charity fund-raising evening.
She sparkled of course, but I would rather cherish the days I spent with her in March when she came to visit me and my children in our home in South Africa. I am proud of the fact that apart from when she was on public display meeting President Mandela, we managed to contrive to stop the ever-present paparazzi from getting a single picture of her.
That meant a lot to her.
These are days I will always treasure. It was as if we'd been transported back to our childhood, when we spent such an enormous amount of time together, the two youngest in the family. Fundamentally she hadn't changed at all from the big sister who mothered me as a baby, fought with me at school and endured those long train journeys between our parents' homes with me at weekends. It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre life imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself.
There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time. She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment she received at the hands of the newspapers.
I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling. My own, and only, explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.
It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest is this; that a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate. And I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.
Beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned.
We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born, and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role. But we, like you, recognize the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible, to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less from us.
William and Harry, we all care desperately for you today. We are all chewed up with sadness at the loss of a woman who wasn't even our mother. How great your suffering is we cannot even imagine.
I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he has shown us at this dreadful time; for taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had so much joy in her private life.
Above all, we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister: the unique the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana, whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.
Famous Eulogies: Michael Jackson presented by his daughter Paris Jackson
I just want to say, ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine, and I just wanted to say I love him so much.
Stanley Kubrick Funeral by Edward Champion
Uncompromising. Meticulous. Control freak. Reclusive. These were all words that were attached to Stanley Kubrick throughout his life. But they were also words that described a man who changed the rules of filmmaking. Kubrick merged the artistic film with the commercial, melding his stark independent vision with the coffers of Hollywood in a way that no other filmmaking genius -- not even Welles -- has managed to accomplish and may never succeed at doing again.
The death of Kubrick came as a shock to me. His legacy -- the twelve films that he created (including the forthcoming Eyes Wide Shut) -- impacted me personally and made me see film in a completely different way. In 1987, I saw my first Kubrick film, Full Metal Jacket, and discovered that film was more than just a medium that entertained. As I became engrossed with the moral disintegration of Private Gomer Pyle, as I watched raw recruits turn into seasoned veterans without remorse or morality, I realized that film had the ability to transcend mere storytelling and become an unforgettable visceral and visual experience.
I soon found myself renting every Kubrick film I could get my hands on, and became captivated with every frame, every character, and every painstakingly crafted allegorical touch that Kubrick embellished his films with. The giddy lunacy of Dr. Strangelove, the evolutionary epic of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the moral philosophizing of A Clockwork Orange. I was amazed that the man could move seamlessly from one genre to another.
I watched these films over and over. Who was the man that created these images?
I began to read books. I collected an arsenal of magazine articles and clippings and learned that he had moved to England to maintain control of his films after he had become disappointed with the way Hollywood had attempted to wrestle control of Spartacus away from him. Through Kubrick, I learned that directing a film was more than just an artistic challenge. It was, above all, a relentless battle with the people who gave you the money.
I soon found myself experimenting with a video camera, hoping to recapture the visual poignancy of 2001's bone being tossed up into the air and becoming a spaceship, trying to reproduce the visual beauty of Barry Lyndon's candlelit imagery. And I soon moved on to Super 8 and 16mm formats, all the while keeping a mental checklist of all the true Kubrickean moments that I remembered.
There were other filmmakers that inspired me, who showed me how to work with the film form in the way in which they executed a scene or accomplished a shot. But it was Kubrick that showed me how the film worked as a whole.
To be fair, Kubrick was frequently tough on his actors. In A Clockwork Orange, he kept Malcolm McDowell's eyes open to that horrible metal device for nearly twelve hours straight. He shot a relentless number of takes for nearly every shot, 47 takes for a simple shot of Scatman Crothers crossing the street in The Shining. He took years upon years to create a film just to get it right. But his talent was so enormous, so all-encompassing, so vast, so true to the film form, that somehow all the horror stories seemed justified.
With Kubrick now gone, I wonder if film will ever be the same. He was a Dostoevsky, a Melville and a Tolstoy all rolled up in one. He was an uncompromising giant unafraid to tackle controversial issues and explore the human condition through his unique vision.
I can only hope that there will be a filmmaker of equal stature in the years to come.
Mahatma Ghandi presented by Jawaharlal Nehru
"If, as I believe, his spirit looks upon us and sees us, nothing would displease his soul so much as to see that we have indulged in any small behavior or any violence.
Mahatma means "great soul," an honorific Gandhi earned by his powerful nonviolent political and spiritual leadership in India before and after it achieved independence. Gandhi differed from other leaders in that he refused to profit from the misfortunes of the oppressor, insisting that his adversaries be won over by the moral rightness of his position. A Hindu opposed to the partitioning of India and the creation of a separate Muslim state (Pakistan), he was assassinated by a fanatic Hindu enraged at Gandhi's solicitude for the Muslims.
Jawaharlal Nehru was a protege of Gandhi's , the leader of the Indian National Congress, and eventually, prime minister of the country.
Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. Nevertheless, we will not see him again as we have seen him for these many years. We will not run to him for advise and seek solace from hi, and that is a terrible blow, not to me only, but to millions and millions in this country, and it is a little difficult to soften the blow by any other advise that I or anyone else can give you.
The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many years will illumine this country for many more years, and a thousand years later that light will still be seen in this country, and the world will see it and it will give solace to innumerable hearts. For that light represented the living truth ... the eternal truths, reminding us of the right path, drawing us from error, taking this ancient country to freedom.
All this has happened when there was so much more for him to do. We could never think that he was unnecessary or that he had done his task. But now, particularly, when we are faced with so many difficulties, his not being with us is a blow most terrible to bear.
A madman has put an end to his life, for I can only call him mad who did it, and yet there has been enough of poison spread in this country during the past years and months, and this poison has effect on people's minds. We must face this poison, we must root out this poison, and we must face all the perils that encompass and face them not madly or badly but rather in the way that our beloved teacher taught us to face them.. The first thing to remember no wish that no one of us dare misbehave because we're angry. We have to behave like strong and determined people, determined to face all the perils that surround us, determined to carry out the mandate that our great teacher and our great leader had given us, remembering always that if, as I believe, his sprit looks upon us and sees us, nothing would displease his soul so much as to see that we have indulged in any small behaviour or any violence.
So we must not do that. But that does not mean that we should be weak, but rather that we should in strength and in unity face all the troubles and difficulties and conflicts must be ended in the face of this great disaster. A great disaster is a symbol to us to remember all the big things of life and forget the small things, of which we have thought too much. Good luck!
Rosa Parks presented by Oprah Winfrey
Reverend Braxton, family, friends, admirers, and this amazing choir:
I feel it an honor to be here to come and say a final goodbye. I grew up in the South, and Rosa Parks was a hero to me long before I recognized and understood the power and impact that her life embodied. I remember my father telling me about this colored woman who had refused to give up her seat. And in my child's mind, I thought, "She must be really big." I thought she must be at least a hundred feet tall. I imagined her being stalwart and strong and carrying a shield to hold back the white folks. And then I grew up and had the esteemed honor of meeting her. And wasn't that a surprise. Here was this petite, almost delicate lady who was the personification of grace and goodness. And I thanked her then. I said, "Thank you," for myself and for every colored girl, every colored boy, who didn't have heroes who were celebrated. I thanked her then.
And after our first meeting I realized that God uses good people to do great things. And I'm here today to say a final thank you, Sister Rosa, for being a great woman who used your life to serve, to serve us all. That day that you refused to give up your seat on the bus, you, Sister Rosa, changed the trajectory of my life and the lives of so many other people in the world. I would not be standing here today nor standing where I stand every day had she not chosen to sit down. I know that. I know that. I know that. I know that, and I honor that. Had she not chosen to say we shall not -- we shall not be moved.
So I thank you again, Sister Rosa, for not only confronting the one white man who[se] seat you took, not only confronting the bus driver, not only for confronting the law, but for confronting history, a history that for 400 years said that you were not even worthy of a glance, certainly no consideration. I thank you for not moving.
And in that moment when you resolved to stay in that seat, you reclaimed your humanity and you gave us all back a piece of our own. I thank you for that. I thank you for acting without concern. I often thought about what that took, knowing the climate of the times and what could have happened to you, what it took to stay seated. You acted without concern for yourself and made life better for us all. We shall not be moved. I marvel at your will. I celebrate your strength to this day. And I am forever grateful, Sister Rosa, for your courage, your conviction. I owe you to succeed. I will not be moved.