The ash had not yet settled on the 4th arrondissement of Paris when President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation.
“I tell you solemnly tonight: We will rebuild this cathedral,” he said, standing outside the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the world’s most esteemed monuments.
The fire still burned as Macron said, “Notre Dame of Paris is our history. The epicentre of our lives. It’s the many books, the paintings, those that belong to all French men and French women, even those who’ve never come.”
There were gasps of disbelief from bystanders as the Cathedral’s spire was engulfed by flames – a Cathedral which has sat in the centre of Paris for 850 years.
Watch: The roof and spire of Notre Dame burns. Post continues.
Firefighters risked their lives to rescue priceless historical relics from inside the building. They built a ‘human chain’ in order to retrieve Jesus Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
Meanwhile, Australia’s own cultural heritage ‘burns’.
Like Notre Dame, people travel across seas to visit a site that evokes within them a feeling. Awe. Adoration. A connection to everyone who has travelled there before them.
More than 8000 years old, we have our own UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The planet’s largest living structure, astronauts can see it from space.
And yet it continues to ‘burn’.
Greater in size than the United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland combined, it seems more fitting to refer to it as a city of its own – the ecosystem a symbol of the potential of life itself.