We have all watched in horror when Notre Dame of Paris burned yesterday. The sheer force of the developing fire attacking such a historic structure known as the Must-Visit in Paris and the heart of France moved many people to tears. It is the feeling of a tremendous loss, and the uncertainty about whether this magnificent building from the 13th century can be rebuild.
French President Macron as well as Paris mayor Ms. Hidalgo have already given statements that the Cathedral will indeed be rebuild. But the re-construction will most certainly take decades and many of us will not live the day that Notre Dame will be reopened.
To me, it was the moment the iconic steeple fell that my thoughts went to 9-11 and the moment Tower 1 of the World Trade Center came down. It simply struck fear deep into my body. I guess it is the moment of realization of a huge disaster, when we feel shaken to the bones.
And it was a moment of relief as we learned that the fire at Notre Dame was not the act of a vile terrorist, but an accident.
In 1976 I traveled through France, and though I never got to visit Paris, I have seen many of the architectural master pieces of Gothic and also Roman-style Cathedrals and Basilicas of the country. They represent European heritage and each of them has played a role in history. We know that early European history houses a terrible cruelty, much of which was imposed through the Catholic Church, Emperors and kings on common people, which ultimately led to thousands seeking peace in a new continent - America. But it was also a time when the arts of constructing awe-inspiring buildings reached a zenith, which we still have a hard time to understand how they did it.
Europe has already pledged to help the French to rebuild their landmark. Poland has promised to send experts in historic reconstruction, Money has been pledged.
Notre Dame will rise again, bearing witness of the willingness to prevail.