A Tribute to the Crew of Challenger
On 28 January 1986, at 11:38AM the world watched as seven brave people lifted off from Pad 39 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. At 1 minute 13 seconds into the flight the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The seven American heroes were lost.
The following poem was read by President Ronald Regan at the memorial services for the Challenger 7.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Written 3 September 1941
"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter silvered wings;
Sunward I have 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 in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there 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 wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle flew; and while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untresspassed sanctity of space, and put out my hand and touched the face of God."
Three months after writing this poem John Gillespie Magee Jr was killed while flying over Great Britain. He was 19 years old. If you would like to learn more about him please visit Historic Wings