My father died yesterday. He was surrounded by love and died in his home.
He was a wonderful father, deeply loved by his family. He leaves my mother, his wife of 62 years, 4 children and their spouses, 9 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and 2 “adopted” grandchildren who loved him and whom he loved, as well as many friends.
He lived his life fully and well, leaving no regrets. He was a good man – honest, compassionate, kind, loving – with a solid moral compass. Extremely talented on many levels, he expressed his love of art, music, his country and my mother teaching us all the beauty of life and love.
Like many pilots, with a long career in the Air Force, and later as a private pilot, his favorite poem was “High Flight” written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. on August 18, 1941. Later that year, Magee (19 at the time) died in a mid-air collision in December. Also in December 1941, my father and his family were captured by the Japanese and interred in a prison camp for 3 years. He wrote his story after his rescue and you can read his story in my earlier post, Perspective: December 8, 1941.
I dedicate Magee’s poem to him and know that he is up there right now, flying among the clouds and touching the face of God.
I love you, Daddy.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
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 into 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.
In mourning for my Father,
(other posts about my father)