Suggestions for Memorial Inscriptions Upon a Wall

Written by lori lapierre
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Suggestions for Memorial Inscriptions Upon a Wall
Memorial inscriptions can be personal, formal or even witty. (carved headstone image by Rob Hill from

Memorial walls are common in many communities, erected to remember those who died in some type of service to the community. Memorials can honour those who died in a war, such as Vietnam, or a tragedy, such as a fire, plane crash or terrorist attack. Since generations to come will see the inscription chosen for the deceased, also called an epitaph, choosing a special inscription is often a difficult decision.


Whether a friend or family member wrote the poem or you choose a quote from a famous author, prose can put deep feeling into a few words. Classic poems by Shakespeare, Bronte, Dickinson or Wordsworth are sometimes used for such occasions. One example by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow states, "What seems to us but dim funeral tapers may be heaven's distant lamps." For Jewish or Christian memorials, choose a passage from the poetic book of Psalms; one common choice is Psalm 23, which includes the famous line, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." If a family member is a known talent at writing poetry, you can enlist his aid in penning the perfect personal inscription for the memorial wall.

Famous Quotes

If the deceased looked to a particular individual for inspiration, consider using a quote from that party to honour your loved one. For example, someone in the military may have preferred a quote from a famous general or admiral or an historical quote from someone such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy. One such example from Roosevelt states: "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." If the deceased admired a certain actor or actress, a well-chosen quote from that individual could also be a good choice to remember your loved one.


If the deceased was a practical joker, an inoffensive bit of humour is a pleasant way to memorialise her inscription. Some families use a favourite joke or a made-up limerick to remember the deceased in a lighthearted way; one well-known memorial inscription was "I told you I was sick!"


Choosing a simple memorial inscription may seem bland, but it exhibits a simple elegance for the departed. Common examples are "In loving memory," "Always in our hearts" or "Rest in peace." The inscription can be short and swee, or more complex in its wording. Either way, it conveys a simple message that the deceased is loved and missed.

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