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Toasts, speeches, dedications, benedictions … words for reunions

These are but a few of the potential words and tributes that can be used at reunions. Do you have others? Something special you did or said at your reunion? Please help others by sharing your words. E-mail us.

Family Traditions

How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day has plenty of helpful tips on writing words for for a variety of occasions.

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Speak to be remembered

"Speak to be remembered and repeated" is advice given by speech-coaches. Isn't that the goal of every speaker -- to be remembered and repeated?

Presidents have gifted speech writers to coin ringing phrases for the history books. You can be just as memorable when you think about what you want to say and why.

Patricia Fripp is a Speech Coach who gives these seven tips for crafting a speech or presentation.


1. Speak in short sentences or phrases.
2. Don't step on your punch word.
3. Perfect your pause.
4. Repeat your key ideas more than once.
5. Never read your speech.
6. Use stories. Help your listeners "see" your words.
7. Say something memorable.


Carole Neal, as a revered elder, former reunion planner, current Reunion Champion and recipient of the 2014 Neal Family Reunion Ambassador Award was asked to make remarks at the Welcome Dinner. She agreed to let us share her remarks as ideas you might also consider for your reunion.

The Occasion

by Carole Neal

  • Connecting
  • Re-Connecting
  • Celebrating
  • Honoring
  • Remembering
  • Sharing
  • Learning
  • Welcoming
  • Enjoying

2014 Neal Family Reunion: “A City, a Family, a People – United in Love, Heritage and Grace.”

The words I started off with are “action” words. They are the reasons for having a family reunion.

  • Connecting and Re-Connecting: to meet and visit with family, some of whom we have not met before, to establish and strengthen a family bond.
  • Celebrating: we come together to celebrate our family roots, our heritage, and the Neal Family Legacy.
  • Honoring and Remembering: we gather to honor our family elders and our forbearers, to remember their lives and the valuable lessons they imparted.
  • Sharing: family reunions are a time to share family stories and family history
  • Learning: we gather, also, to learn and become familiar with the family story so that it is passed down, generation to generation
  • Welcoming: family reunions also are a time to welcome new additions to the family; the family tree continues to grow with births, adoptions, marriages.
  • Enjoying: This is our time to enjoy the company, the fellowship, the food, and the special fun-filled and memorable activities that have been planned for this special weekend.

Since our Millennium Reunion, held in 2000, we have reunioned in July every other year.

2000 Winnsboro and Monroe, LA
2002 San Jose, CA
2004 Winnsboro and Monroe, LA
2006 Baltimore, MD
2008 San Francisco, CA
2010 New Orleans, LA
2012 San Antonio, TX
2014 Kansas City, MO

Family members live across the United States. Everyone may not be able to attend each and every reunion But with technology, those who are unable to attend can still feel a part of the reunion through videos and pictures, hearing firsthand accounts from those who did attend, and from information posted online.

While their physical presence is not with us, I somehow feel that our parents and other family members who have passed on are here with us in spirit. Those Neal siblings:

  • Eliza
  • Eleazer
  • Solomon
  • William
  • Jesse
  • Charlie
  • Carey

and their spouses are smiling down, pleased to see us come together one more time to celebrate family. And we also are pleased that our cousins from the Philip Neal line are here to celebrate with us.

Family members and guests, I hope that over this special weekend each person puts into practice those action words that I stated and leave the reunion with wonderful, fond memories of our time here in Kansas City: a City, a Family, a People: United in Love, Heritage, and Grace.

Thank you!

Smiling is infectious,
You catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too.
I walked around the corner
And someone saw me grin.
When he smiled I realised
I had passed it on to him.
I thought about the smile
And then realised its worth.
A single smile like mine
Could travel round the earth!
So if you feel a smile begin
Don't leave it undetected -
Start an epidemic
And get the world infected!
Author Unknown

"Every smile makes you a day younger."
Chinese Proverb

Found on Activity Village News

Click to enlarge

The following was written and read by Angela Tomaselli at the Warren-Pulley Family Reunion.

Family is…

Family is…

A woven fabric from the strongest and most diverse thread.
The pattern is rich and flows effortlessly, smoothly, and continuously throughout.
Although the flaws may appear to interrupt the natural flow they actually enhance
the pattern and make it stronger and more appealing to the eye. Time is kind to
the fabric and it increases the designs worth as it passes by.

Family is…
A refreshing fruit salad with a variety of fruit of different shapes, colors, sizes, and tastes. Some fruits are delicate, some are a little too rough. Some fruits have seeds others have pits. Some grow in bunches others grow individually. When the salad is initially combined together the juices remain separate – it takes time to blend. But as time passes by their individuality remains intact, but the blend
takes on a more complex flavor.

Family is…
A tree. It begins with a small seed that slowly sprouts from the ground and takes
days, months, and years to develop, but then come the branches the leaves and
sometimes even the most beautiful flowers. The tree is strong and sturdy and
although the flowers may leave for a season, when they return the next, they are
just as breathtaking as the season before.

Family is…
Young and old, big and small, many shades, many beliefs, many levels of
intelligence and tolerance. What do they have in common? Blood that binds them all together. Families happen, but love takes time to develop.
God creates families, but the members must take time to make all the unique
combinations mesh together in the best possible way.

About the writer
Angela Tomaselli resides in Dayton, OH with her husband, Daniel. She is currently the theatre department director at Stivers School for the Arts and she also serves as the Executive Director for Life's a Stage.


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