Few people survive an airplane crash. (Don’t gimme that bit about planes being safer than cars !). However a World War 1 French pilot from the Basque country survived not once but seven times, when his frail, wood and fabric fighter plane crashed to the ground. (This makes rising from the dead – just once – a pretty paltry performance.) France’s No.2 WW1 air-ace (54 German planes shot down), Georges Guynemer, in one of his crashes – flying at 3000 m., his plane terminally damaged from enemy fire – saw the cloth being torn off the wings and fuselage, with none of his controls functioning, as he hurtled towards the ground at 180 kms per hour. He attributed his survival to the straps holding him into his pilot’s seat; the straps were now imbedded into his shoulders. His only injuries were a few facial wounds. In fact, he wasn’t all that surprised. It was becoming something of a habit for him.
The other “crashes” were no doubt less dramatic but extremely dangerous forced landings. But even so, our hero was indeed a lucky man – until his final, fatal crash. He will never be forgotten, but he was not immortal.
Most of us will die in far less frightening circumstances. We may have had some brushes with death, but sooner or later we will find that we can’t cheat it. Even Guynemer’s was only postponed.
It takes only common sense to accept the inevitability of our death. It takes a little more lucidity to realize that there is no life after death, even for heroes who live on in the history books.