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Notre Dame

Notre Dame

April 15, 2019 11:59 pmComments are Disabled

I remember the first time I saw Notre Dame. I was only 13 visiting Paris for the first time with my dad. I remember looking at this famous building and thinking how small it looked. It’s no taller than your standard East Side tenement. And you forget that because of how large it looms in the collective imagination.

There are few symbols of Western culture that are as universally understood as Notre Dame. The gothic jewel of Paris, one of the most important cities in the world and one of its historical and cultural and gastronomical centers of gravity, as a building that has withstood centuries of religious reformation and revolution and world wars and terrorist threats, Notre Dame is a steadfast reminder of the things we too often forget about today’s world: how far we’ve come. It stands as a tribute to those who have suffered before us and now, after it continues to smolder in embers, it stands as a symbol to our resilience.

Cultural symbols mean something because they are bigger than all of us. We individual humans will grow old and die, and we’ll change our hair styles, and our religions, and shockingly, I know, even our politics. But culture incorporates all of us, and though it changes too as we change, it remains steadfast and rooted in longer standing meaning that we can share. As our culture evolves, especially as the world becomes more interconnected as ever before, it’s important that we are reminded of these common threads of heritage.

Though today’s conflagration was tragic, the rebirth of Notre Dame will reaffirm our global commitment to these timeless cultural values.

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