Rising from the Ashes

Arvind Pillai, Editor

As many of you may be aware from the extensive news coverage that has occured on this topic during the past several weeks, the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris suffered extensive damage. On April 15th, 2019,  a massive fire sparked inside of the roof of the building. French police believe that the fire was caused by an accidental electrical short circuit from one of the five companies renovating the cathedral’s higher points but the case has not yet been closed. The Notre Dame cathedral itself is a very old and well respected place of worship, and although it has been witness to many different historical events and religious groups, it is most notable for hosting the crowning of Napoleon as Emperor of France in 1801. However, the cathedral does not just hold emotional value to the French. The Notre Dame cathedral also held many priceless artifacts before the fire, one of which being the Crown of Thorns, which was said to be worn by Jesus before his crucifixion.

In order to recover these priceless artifacts, France used both the latest technology and the help of some courageous samaritans. Jean Marc-Fournier, the chaplain of the Paris fire service, rushed onto the scene while the fire was still burning with a squad of firefighters to rescue most of the great artifacts trapped in the building. The fire department also made use of camera-equipped fire-proof drones to give aerial and ground view of the fire through the smoke in the building and the firefighters themselves were on the scene for hours on end. It should also be noted that the security guards on the site at the time the fire fearlessly evacuated the building successfully before any of the major damage to the center hall took place. To restore the cathedral, people of all walks of life donated over a billion dollars for the reconstruction effort which has irritated some people as it seems like a lot of money for a single building no matter how symbolic it is.

Regardless of all the support that has been pledged to restore this monument to its’ former glory, France is still grieving over the damage that has been done as they are aware that it will truly never be the same again. As President Emmanuel Macron of France said on a televised speech shortly after the fire, “Throughout our history, we have built towns, ports, churches. Many have been burnt due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind’s mistakes. Each time we have rebuilt them. Macron added that “The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome.”