I was returning home from a 4 day business trip to Washington DC. Before I departed, I downloaded several pages of one of my favorite blogs, Flight Level 390, to read on the plane. It seemed fitting to read about the adventures and musings of an airline pilot while flying home myself. I simply love the periodic reflections of Captain Dave, and heartily recommend them.
One of Captain Dave's posts was a reflection and a poem on Charles Lindbergh. This recent May 20th was the 85th anniversary of Lindbergh's courageous and record breaking transatlantic flight, a flight that forever changed the world. And here I was, with 120 or so other souls, 7-plus miles in the air over an unmarked Midwestern state, traveling at 0.83 times the speed of sound, in a metal tube with wings. How far we have come since that single man dared the odds and transformed history.
And tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day we set aside for the first trip of the spring to the beach, or barbeque's, or pool parties. But the meaning of Memorial Day is so much more.
|Lindbergh's grave near Hana, Maui.|
I remember about 35 years ago my parents and I made the drive to Hana, Maui; a picturesque and winding road that ends at the small clifftop Hawaiian village of Hana, a place directly out of Heaven on Earth. My Dad kept talking about Lindbergh owning a small home there, and having recently been buried someplace nearby. My Dad thought Charles Lindbergh was an amazing American icon. He was right. At the end of his life, Lindbergh chose to be flown from a hospital in New York, where he was being treated for lymphoma, back to Hana and the place he loved so much. His grave is simple, and not marked on maps. Those who wish to honor him find the grave site on their own.
And there I was reading this poem, speeding through the sky with ease, tears in my eyes, reflecting upon many things; the amazing advance of technology, the courage of a man to go it alone, the character of this generation that preceded ours that took risks like Lindbergh, and the service of my own Dad to his country as a B17 pilot in World War II. Many things in this poem struck me as deeply meaningful, I share it with you, in the hopes it might have meaning for you as well.
Better in here deep than out there wide --
Hovering over the pillaring waves alone,
Suspended between the old world and the new,
Trusting in man's compass to guide me home;
Descending down the sharp cold blade of dawn.
Better, much better, in here at last to wait
In here where the shawl of the waves below
Enfolds that fire they could never snare.