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John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds-- and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of-- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering thee,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
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.

In December 1941, Piolot Officer John G. Magee, a 19 year old American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England, was killed when his Spitfire collided with another airplane inside a cloud. Several months befor his death, he compossed his immortal sonnet "High Flight," a copy of which he fortunatly mailed to his parents in the U.S.A.

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