75 years ago today
75 years ago today, RCAF Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee landed from his first flight in a Spitfire. He went to his barracks and wrote “High Flight,” the greatest poem of flight ever written.
When I was in 8th grade, I had to recite a poem in my English Class. Get up in front of everyone and speak. I was terrified. I found “High Flight” in our poetry book. The kid whose first word ever was “O-Pane” when a P-38 flew over the park my mother and I were in, related. I memorized it, got up and recited it. And was met with dead silence. Which was the worst possible reaction until my best friend from those days told me 5 years ago that everyone was terrified, because they were going to have to equal what I had done. Childhood is amazing.
The photo above is my own “high flight” 40 years ago, dawn over Sacramento. I’m in the near Stearman.
40 years ago in America, before 24/7 television, TV stations would sign off around 2:00am, and many of them used this:
Here’s the full story of how the poem was written.