Publication details [#1253]

Slavíčková, Tess. 2013. The rhetoric of remembrance: Presidential Memorial Day speeches. Discourse & Society 24 (3) : 361–379. 19 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Sage Journals


Focusing on four sample texts selected from a corpus of 27 speeches, this article aims to provide a diachronic rhetorical profile of the annual American Memorial Day presidential speech as an example of epideixis. The analysis is based on a discourse historical approach set within critical discourse analysis. It reveals common micro-level strategies in the speeches, including, foregrounded pronoun use (the historical ‘we’), debt and burden metaphors (paid the ultimate price, the price our nation has paid for freedom), metonym embedded in metaphor (freedom is a location – living in freedom, building freedom, defend our freedom. The analysis also locates the discursive role of the speech as a ‘field of action’ within the wider context of American political communication. In a wider sense, it is argued, this type of text, and its historical context, can shed light on the background to American public values, attitudes to war and historical self-image.