History Alight



Tourists and French citizens alike watch in horror as a piece of their history burns in front of the.

On Monday, April 15, tragedy struck. The iconic gothic French cathedral, Notre Dame, caught fire. Thousands of tourists and Parisians alike crowded the streets below, watching in horror and disbelief. Cries erupted from the crowd when Notre Dame’s spire fell. Firemen battled the fire, but there wasn’t much they could do. Paris and the world watched, knowing time would only tell what would be lost to the flames and what would survive.

Even here at Holt High School did the emotions ring true. Students had come to find out about the tragedy during school, such as Allen Le (‘21) who found out during French class, and many were rather upset, some even cried like Koleen Field (‘20).

Others had much to say about the devastating news. “It’s absolutely crushing to consider that not only did Paris almost lose a loved monument, but the entire world had to suffer injury to a historical reminder of how far we’ve come as the human race. It’s difficult to see such a beautiful building be damaged, especially with the amount of time spent on it (300+ years!!!) and the careful attention to detail used. Also, the Notre Dame Cathedral is a symbol of hope and faith for all religions, not just Christians. To all those who see it as such, this event might be considered a devastation of faith. However, when considering the bright side, no one was injured or killed, which is a miracle in and of itself. What’s also important to remember is that the fire brought the world together for a period of grief, in which we are all able to agree that this was a total disaster. Luckily, from the bad can come good. We have grown a little closer as humanity, and if not, then we have certainly realized just how close we can become. The Notre Dame is not gone, just broken. This event will not be forgotten, but it will, without a doubt, stay in our minds and hearts as we allow it to unify us as humanity.” Ruth Ann King (‘21) said.

When the smoke cleared, people began to access the damage. Along with the spire, the roof had collapsed, leaving much of the interior in rough condition. The direct cause of the fire is still currently unknown. Thankfully, no one was harmed and some of the artwork, including the replica of the crown of thorns and 16 statues, inside had been removed during the renovations that the cathedral was undergoing. The stained glass windows miraculously also managed to survive. A few months prior, a drone was sent through the entire building, capturing the majesty of the building. This will now prove to be extremely helpful along with the immense amount of support that have come forth from three rich French men and Disney itself, who had been allowed private access to the building during the making of their movie Hunchback of Notre Dame. Citizens have also pitched in. Donations have in total amounted to over one billion. The future is bright with possibility and hope for Notre Dame as people begin the hard process of rebuilding.

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