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.
—John Gillespie Magee, Jr, “High Flight”
Neil Armstrong–the first man on the moon, a man of courage and calm in the face of extraordinary danger–died today. I couldn’t help but offer a small tribute to him this evening.
Mr. Armstrong was a hero not only to America, but in our home as well. My sister studied the Apollo Program and the individual astronauts with enthusiastic interest, and thanks to her, Neil Armstrong and his fellow pioneers have been like old friends.
Neil Armstrong’s death brought genuine sadness to everyone of us when we found out about it this afternoon. Nevertheless, we’re thanking the Lord tonight for raising up Mr. Armstrong (and all the Apollo astronauts) for their undaunted courage as they travelled the long distance to “the lesser light” that rules the night.