Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent

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The Far Call: In Memorium—Challenger, 25 years later

I remember where I was when I heard, of course. I was sweeping the mess deck on the USCGC Rush. I was only a few short weeks out of Boot Camp at that point.

Several people have quoted President Reagan's speech of that tragic day, when he spoke of how Challenger's crew had ... slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.. Reagan, in turn, was alluding to the first and last lines of a pre-space flight poem written by a World War II aviator:

High Flight
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. 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 wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever 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.

Tags: far call, poetry, space

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