Reflections of Notre Dame & What Comes Next

When Notre Dame began burning, everyone was completely shocked. The stoned cathedral seemed like a testament to survival. It had outlasted tragedies such as the French Revolution and World War 2. Every day it represented unending immortality and beauty, no matter the darkness that occurred in the world. Could modern fire really burn down a structure that had survived and endured for over 500 years? The world hoped that it wouldn’t. I hoped that it wouldn’t. For days, I kept a close watch on any news relating to the Notre Dame cathedral. Written below is both a summary and reflection of the Notre Dame catastrophe, and what it means for our future 


What Is The Notre Dame? 

Translated to as “Our Lady of Paris,” Notre Dame de Paris is a 12th century Gothic cathedral located in the heart of the “City of Lights.” For believers and non-believers alike, the church’s stony grandeur has continually inspired awe and wonder. The cathedral stands as both a religious and national symbol for the country of France. 


How Did It Catch On fire? 


On April 15th, in the middle of Monday mass, Notre Dame’s fire alarms loudly began blaring. The location of a fire, however, could not be immediately determined and was ignored after an initial survey. This allowed the hidden flames to quickly spread and engulf the entire Notre Dame in a fiery blaze. 400 Parisian firefighters were immediately called to the site and they were able to extinguish the flames after nine hours of battle. Many risked their lives, going in and out of the cathedral, to rescue priceless relics such as the tunic of St. Louis, the Crown of Thorns, and gilded candelabras. Authorities have concluded that the fire likely was accidental and stemmed from restoration work that was occurring at the time. 


How Did People Respond? 


The Notre Dame’s burning immediately received world-wide news coverage. People were shocked and feared that the historical relic would be burned away forever. Social media soon erupted with many users sharing their heartbreak and personal experience visiting the Notre Dame. Celebrities such as Lin Manuel Miranda, William Shatner, Camila Cabello, and Cher along with politicians such as Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, and Mike Pence shared their condolences to France on social media. 


What did French President Emmanuel Macron say? 


Addressing his French countrymen on Tuesday night, Macron urged all French citizens to forget politics and unite together as one. Macron declared that, “It is up to us to change this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are. It is up to us to find the thread of our national project” continuing to vow that  “We will build the cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful than it was. But this must be done in five years. We can do that." Finally ending with, "I share your pain, but I also share your hope. We now have to act, and we will act, and we will succeed."


The Notre Dame Cathedral lives another day! Today, about $1 billion has been pledged to help with restoration processes from companies such as Apple and Walt Disney along with individuals from around the globe. Personally, I have never visited the Notre Dame Cathedral but its fire reminds me that nothing lasts forever. Everyone (myself included!) gets so caught up looking towards future happiness —once I do this then I will be happy, that we don’t value and enjoy TODAY enough. The Notre Dame fire should remind us all to take a step back and admire the simple pleasures of life. The future is a long way away, but we always have today. Make the most of it! Let your voice shine! Travel! Enjoy (and support) art! You can't control what will happen in the future but you can control what you do today!