I need to speak at the unveiling of a memorial plaque (this one, incidentally).
I have an idea of what I want to say, and how I want to arrange it. My struggle is with the opening.
I have spoken in public before - in academic settings, on fantasy/sci-fi conventions. In all those circumstances, my go-to strategy has been (introduce myself, then) "start by saying something funny". When I've got everybody laughing, I've got everybody engaged, and it helps me get over the first moments of petrifying stage-fright.
This approach isn't going to work here: the holocaust is not funny. And the people who are going to be in attendance are not the friendly geeks of sci-fi conventions, which doesn't help the stage-fright one bit.
How do I open this kind of speech? How do I start strong, and engage the audience at once? I can't afford to stand there and blabber.