For those who love Spitfires – the ecstasy of high flight – soaring words

Are you one of those people who grew up loving Spitfires?

Spitfire roundel

I was one of those kids who grew up in Australia being fascinated by the WWII plane – even in the 70s when jets had replaced the prop planes.

I was one of those kids who loved the Spitfire model plane kits.

Even now as a dad, one of the Christmas presents I got most excited about – was a Spitfire kit. I’ll make it with my son and introduce him to the Spitfire too.

Model Ps MP

These days I’m a word nerd who trains people to help  improve their speeches and writing.

word nerd CU

This week my love of speeches intersected with my love of Spitfires.

This week was the 28th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster and I was reminded of Ronald Reagan’s assuring address to the nation.

His speech borrowed from the famous words of “The Spitfire Poet” – John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Reagan borrowed…”slipped the surly bonds of Earth” to “touch the face of God.”

Magee was an interesting combination – of poet and pilot.

He had an American father and a British mother. When WWII broke out he joined the Royal Canadian Airforce (before the US entered the war)

He flew Spits and captured the ecstasy of flying a Spit in his famous poem High Flight.

He died at 19 in a Spitfire accident – a mid-air collision – yet his words live on.

In the link at the end of this post you read more about the Spitfire Poet and read the poem in full and how it continues to be an inspiration to pilots and even astronauts.

It’s interesting – the words “touched the face of God” were inspired by another poem.

I love the lines:

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 

and

I’ve trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 – Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I encourage you to read more about Magee and Spitfires and the ecstasy of High Flight.

Wikipedia link about The Spitfire Pilot and High Flight

And here are links to other posts inspired by Spitfires and Roundels:

1.Spitfires, Roundels, and Mods

2.Kids and Spitfires and model planes

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