The significantly historical Notre Dame up in flames as it was caused by an unknown source.

Zayna Sheikh, Reporter

The power of architecture lies within its permanence. While generations of people come and go, monuments outlast mortality. These structures stand as a testament to human ambition, will, and perseverance. They are supposed to remain even after our stories and legacies have faded from human memory.  

At the start of the Christian Holy week, a fire engulfed the Notre Dame, the beloved 850 year old embodiment of French culture and history. With the destruction of the iconic spire and the oak wood ceiling, centuries of work was lost. Worldwide, people watched in horror as a cherished religious and cultural symbol burned for hours on end.

“When I visited the Notre Dame, it was like I could feel the centuries of history. Even though the Mass was in French and I couldn’t understand, I still felt a connection. I felt the emotion beneath their words,” said junior Kyle Stromberg.

The Cathedral’s history began in 1163 as its first cornerstone was placed. It was finished nearly three centuries later in 1345 when its legacy began as the peak of medieval Gothic architecture. It was the site of numerous coronations such as the crowning of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor, as well as home to hundreds of priceless artifacts. Throughout the centuries, it became a tangible representation of French people and their spirit.

In the wake of the fire, the pledging of almost 730 million for the Cathedral’s reconstruction has sparked controversy. In France, opponents of the excessive donations argue that the money would be better invested in the frequently protested social inequality that exists within the country. Others worldwide denounce the donors for not placing their money towards countries suffering from war, poverty, and genocide.

“So much of the money that they willingly [donated] for the reconstruction could have easily been donated to ongoing matters such as the Flint water crisis and mosque bombings. The influx of donations just goes to show that wealthy people are capable of contributing to world problems, yet don’t,” said junior Dina Hasan.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised the completion of its rebuilding within the next five years. However, many felt that even with its reconstruction, centuries of history had been irreversibly lost in the few hours that the fire took place.

“It’s such a huge building, and it was crazy to think that such a [structure] could be destroyed in a matter of hours when it took so long to build,” said junior Maria Guerrero.

However, Windsor Castle, Rio de Janeiro’s National Museum, the White House, and countless other historical landmarks and monuments have been rebuilt from ruin with the same love and talent as the original construction. While the devastation of this Cathedral may be mourned, the culture, history, and sheer human ambition that it stood for will be remembered forever.