There are few moments in modern history where you know everyone in the world is watching the exact same thing unfold as you are. Yesterday? It was word that one of the most historical buildings in the world was burning: the Notre Dame cathedral in France. As pictures of the devastation flashed across screens, social media was also convulsing in shock and grief.
While the cause of the blaze is still unknown – though believed to be accidental at this point – the world was as transfixed on their screens as those in Paris were to the real thing, watching as an 850-year-old building that has withstood French Revolution and two World Wars fell to fire. If there’s good news, it’s that the fire is out – and that some of the most precious religious relics are safe - including the 'Crown of Thorns' believed to have been worn by Jesus at his Crucifixion. The bad? The entire wooden interior is gone.
Still, the damage is significant – the famous spire is gone and the roof has collapsed. And a world where the next is “how will they rebuild,” that effort is already underway. French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault [[fran-SWAH ahn-REE PEE-noh]] has pledged more than $130-million to rebuild the iconic cathedral. Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is the CEO of the group behind names like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, among others. It won’t be a solo effort, of course – French President Emmanuel Macron has also vowed to rebuild. We heard the donated amount to reconstruct is already up over 600 million euros.
President and Trump. First remarking that flying water tankers should be considered – something fire suppression experts suggested would do more damage than help – he later added simply, “God bless the people of France!” As for FLOTUS, she offered: “My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Praying for everyone’s safety.” Former President Barack Obama has also taken to Twitter. “We’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief,” he writes. “It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”