John Gillespie Magee
''Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,John Gillespie Magee (c. 1922-1941), U.S.-born pilot with Royal Canadian Air Force. High Flight (written 1941). first and last lines of the sonnet. Magee died while on a bombing mission over Germany. The verse was later quoted by President Ronald Reagan following the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986.
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings ...
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.''
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(To those who gave their lives to England during the Battle of
Britain and left such a shining example to us who follow, these
lines are dedicated.)
'They that have climbed the white mists of the morning;
They that have soared, before the world's awake,
To herald up their foeman to them, scorning
The thin dawn's rest their weary folk might take;
Some that have left other mouths to tell the story
Of high, blue battle, quite young limbs that bled,