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The World Today: The Tragedy of Notre Dame

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The World Today: The Tragedy of Notre Dame

Anne Massie

Anne Massie

Anne Massie

Zia Sampson, Managing Editor and Business Manager

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On April 15, 2019, a fire ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. It destroyed most of the roof, including the iconic spire. The building, which took nearly two centuries to build, finished construction in 1345. As a cathedral, it has become a landmark for many Catholics, but in the 850 years that it has been standing, it has become so much more than a place of worship. It became a symbol of peace. Because of this, it has become a landmark of Paris, holding just as much significance as the Eiffel Tower.

Because of this, it became a place that many people across the world have seen, including some students at BDHS. It has made as much an impact on them as it did the rest of the world. “It was honestly breathtaking,” said senior Anne Massie, who visited the cathedral in July 2017. “You could feel the importance of it as you went through and everywhere you looked you saw something even more captivating than the last thing you saw.”

Massie captured the beauty of this building, which was almost destroyed in the fire. The foundation and framework remain intact, which will make the rebuilding process a little easier. The stained-glass windows are also safe, as is the majority of the exterior beyond the roof.

The interior of the church was a large cause of concern, as well. Many pieces of art, and religious relics, were jeopardized from the fire and potential water damage from putting out the fire. Fortunately, there have been a lot of pieces, including the Crown of Thornes and the series of paintings known as the “Mays de Notre Dame”, are safe with minimal damage. Any artwork has been taken to the Louvre, the largest art museum in the world, where it will be restored and kept in the interim of repairing the church. The Great Organ, one of the most historic musical instruments, is also safe.

Notre Dame will be restored, with President Emmanuel Macron promising an idealistic five-year reparation period so that it will be completely restored by the Paris Olympics in 2024. Some are critical of this timeline however, saying that the amount of caution and precision needed for the repairs will likely take closer 10 to 15 years.

Another, more controversial, criticism of the Notre Dame repairs is in regard to the one billion dollars that have been raised to help fund construction. Most of this has been donated by wealthier members of society, which has received backlash from many different people. For starters, some wonder why that money has not gone towards environmental conservation or fires that happened at less famous buildings. Others have cried out because they believe the people who have donated so much should be helping those immediately in their community, such as the homeless.

These criticisms have created a serious debate-should those donors have put their money towards another, arguably more important, cause? Some will say yes, while others argue that, since the money is theirs, they can spend it however they choose.

Regardless of someone’s personal views, it is inspiring to see how people from across the world can come together in a moment of darkness. The fire destroyed a lot of history and could have been more detrimental. Rather than leaving it as it is, people decided to come together in an effort to fix it. If they did that now, then they can do it again. It leaves a sense of hope in the aftermath of a tragedy that hurts the whole world.

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The World Today: The Tragedy of Notre Dame