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High Flight

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Adam Smith
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#1 Posted: 11/2/2009 21:28:13 Modified: 11/2/2009 21:29:38

The BBC has produced a very interesting radio documentary about John Gillespie Magee and his famous poem "High Flight".

Worth a listen, and only available for the next 6 days -   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nhw26

High Flight

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. Hov'ring 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 windswept 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,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

 

  Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

 

 



Hal Bryan
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#2 Posted: 11/3/2009 08:48:28 Modified: 11/3/2009 08:50:19

(Listening to this now at work - don't tell my boss!)

Vintage Wings of Canada just recently did a "High Flight Harvard" - my friend Rob wrote a great story on the airplane and some additional background on Magee as well.  


MageeTitle.jpg

 



Online Community Manager - EAA
Alynn Hiscox
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#3 Posted: 11/3/2009 09:03:18 Modified: 11/3/2009 09:03:57

That was really nice.  I was one of those kids who learned this poem while hearing it played on television as stations signed off for the day.  William Conrad was the actor that provided the spoken word, and I can still hear his booming baritone in my head as I type this.  Brings back some really wonderful memories.

Thanks for posting this.

 



Hal Bryan
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#4 Posted: 11/3/2009 09:11:15

Here's one of the TV-sign-off versions:


 

And here's one with the William Conrad audio, over B-36 footage from the film Strategic Air Command:


 

 



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Doug Tomas
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#5 Posted: 11/3/2009 16:23:04

The Air Force Museum, now the "National Museum of the Air Force" in Dayton had an exhibit on Pilot Officer Magee, and his poem.  With this exhibit was a recording you could listen to of (if I remember correctly) his mother reading his poem.

With the many changes the museum has gone through it appears the exhibit is still there, but I don't know if the recording is still available.  It was special.

 

I also enjoy John Denver's adaptation of the poem into his song "Flight" (The Higher We Fly).  Which I believe was used as part of the capital campaign for the EAA Air Museum...OK, AirVenture Museum.



Dan Grunloh
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#6 Posted: 11/5/2009 22:00:22

 I heard this poem countless times as a youth. It was played as the sign-off on local TV station after the the "late show" and before the test pattern, with patriotic video of jet  fighter climbing ever higher.

 

It has spawned many parodies