Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”
You may be familiar with these lines—the first of John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s 1941 sonnet “High Flight”. Many of us likely recognize them from President Ronald Reagan’s speech on the day of the Challenger disaster, but “High Flight” has a much longer history with aviators and astronauts.
In 1966, astronaut Michael Collins took the text of the poem with him into space during the Gemini 10 mission. Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy must learn to recite it from memory. In addition, “High Flight” is showcased in a number of films produced by the United States Air Force, like the one below.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, before the United States entered World War II. He wrote “High Flight” shortly before he was killed in a midair collision on December 11, 1941. In his honor, we present you with a short 1972 Air Force film celebrating the joy of flight.
POWs (recently repatriated in the UN POW exchange) pose for a group photograph with their flight nurses at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. 09/05/1953. They are proudly displaying the American flag which was hand made by them during their long imprisonment at a Communist POW camp. Officer shown kneeling in front of the group is identified as Maj. David F. Macghee, 137 El Central St., Moorestown, N.J. Maj. Macghee, a B-29 pilot of the 371st Bomb Sqd., was captured on 10 November 1950 after his plane was shot down by flak and MIGs. His B-29 was the first B-29 to be shot down in the Korean conflict.
This shark gets a beauty treatment on its teeth!
“A member of the 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron corrosion control section removes masking from a 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft after painting it with fresh “shark’s teeth” in 1986.”
Smile - It’s shark week in the #sharchives!