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 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.
I read that poem at my grandfather’s funeral. He was a pilot during WWII, and never left the world of aviation after that. His son went on to be a marine, his daughter to be a soldier, his granddaughter to be a pilot, and his grandson to be a rocket scientist. A legacy of patriotism and flight. Today, I want to remember his service and sacrifice. I also want to honor all the others who give of themselves for my sake. To my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen who serve…thank you. Your sacrifice is not unnoticed, or unappreciated. May God bless you and your families, and may he hold you safe in his arms until you come home again.