Updated: Feb 21
I have no words. All I have is tears. I am truly heartbroken to see something so symbolic and historical come to a devastating end.
I tweeted this on Monday when I heard the news about Notre Dame Cathedral. I was really upset because I thought such a wondrous work of art was going to be completely destroyed. Yet, the structure held and Our Lady survived.
I have never seen Notre Dame Cathedral in person. I haven't even been to France. But as an art history major, Notre Dame was one of the first pieces of architecture I learned about. When I took a more in-depth class on Gothic Art, Notre Dame was the focal point.
My professor taught us about every inch of the interior and exterior of that building, from the statues to the windows to the vaults to the gargoyles to the relics that lived inside. For this reason, Monday’s news hurt because I had studied that building so intently that it felt like I had walked every inch of it.
Although I have only seen Notre Dame in pictures, I still had a visceral reaction to cry when I saw it on fire. I believe many people felt this way as they watched the edifice burn. It is amazing how a building can resonate with so many, especially for ones who have never seen it before. That just shows how much significance and meaning it holds, whether religiously, historically, or symbolically. It truly goes to show how Notre Dame is something extraordinary, something that conveys the brilliance and beauty of the world. No matter what anyone believes in, it’s hard to deny the magnificence and mastery of Notre Dame. I am glad to know that she will be rebuilt, that she will rise once again.
Notre Dame is an iconic symbol of France, but it is also a cultural symbol throughout the entire world as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This organization protects and preserves many monuments around the world, and they intend to help Notre Dame in any way they can during the aftermath of the fire.
I also want to thank all the first responders who tirelessly fought to save Notre Dame and all the irreplaceable artworks inside. They went in to the cathedral to recover all of these objects while the fire was still burning, and their bravery helped save history.
My heart goes out to all that were affected by the fire, especially the people of France and anyone who celebrates Easter. In the Christian religion, this past week was Holy Week, and for them to lose their church was difficult. But I know that the people are who truly make the church, so I hope they can still celebrate even without their grand cathedral.
I am unsure when I will go to France. Hopefully, one day soon. If I go before Notre Dame is rebuilt, I vow to go back again in the future to finally be able to see her in person, complete and whole.