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High Flight
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Index of
Air Museums
BC Air Museum,
Victoria, BC
Calgary Air Museum,
Chino, California
Air Museum
Canadian Museum
of Flight, Langley, BC
Edmonton Air Museum,
Boeing Field,
Seattle, WA ,
Tillamook, OR
Evergreen, OR

"High Flight" by 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 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.“


Our Salute to Aviation includes a series of historical features on the icons of aviation and vintage aircraft. Starting in fall 2002, it will appear in this section of the Air Highways web site and in our printed magazines. Click on the photo below for a brief profile on the Canadian War Ace, Raymond Collishaw of Nanaimo, BC, in whose honour the airport terminal for that Vancouver Island city was renamed .


Collishaw Air Terminal. Nanaimo



Background on the author of High Flight
The author of that famous poem, written in 1941, was World War II Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force on combat duty in England. His parents were missionaries in Shanghai, China, where he was born. The family moved to the USA during the first year of the war.

In December, 1941, a few months after Pilot Officer Magee, age 19, composed High Flight, the 'Spitfire' he was flying collided with another aircraft over the English countryside,. He was buried in the Scopwick, Lincolnshire churchyard cemetery.