Hatters share beloved Notre Dame experiences


Finney Thomas

From left to right, Hope Thomas, Faith Thomas, and Rachel Thomas stand in front of the western facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris during their family vacation to Europe.

Kiara Kaltschnee, Staff Writer

The roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burst into flames with unidentified cause on Monday, April 15, 2019. While there were no casualties and minimal damage to artifacts, the estimation has gone up to billions of dollars that will be needed to repair the cathedral, which is home to a religious community and attracts thousands of tourists each year.

“I was completely shocked, nearly rendered speechless,” said Faith Thomas, junior. “The same cathedral that could stand through the French Revolution and both World Wars was defiled by an inexplicable accident.”

Thomas visited Notre Dame on a vacation with her family just a few months ago, and “felt blessed [she] was able to see it before the flames existed.”

After the damage of the fire, Bishop Patrick Chauvet confirmed that Notre Dame will be closed to the public for five to six years, according to the The Associated Press.

“It hurts,” said senior Cassandra Ian, who has visited Notre Dame twice on family vacations. “It hurts because beyond my family being tied to the country, [the cathedral] belongs to the world.”

Music teacher Suzan McKenzie also visited Notre Dame many times when she studied at Sorbonne University in Paris. According to McKenzie, the atmosphere of Notre Dame is distinct, and she compared it to the atmosphere at a famous American attraction.

“At the Grand Canyon, nobody speaks louder than a whisper, and there’s no sign that says don’t talk. It’s like that in Notre Dame; nobody speaks louder than whispers,” McKenzie said.

Like McKenzie, Special Education teacher Andrea Peters visited Notre Dame sporadically over the years on vacation, commenting on the physical appeal of the “soaring ceiling, stained glass, and beautiful sculptures” in addition to a “facade so long you could stare at it for hours.”

Despite the aesthetically appealing nature of Notre Dame, many people like McKenzie attribute the main attraction to the environment within the cathedral.

Andrea Gonzalez, a senior who visited Notre Dame on a trip to tour Europe instead of having a quinceañera, took note of the community within the cathedral.

“You think it’s a building, but it’s a whole community,” Gonzalez said. “To see people come together is just incredibly impactful.”

Due to the emotional significance Notre Dame evokes, the fire’s destruction upon the cathedral had an impact on the DHS community. Many people think that Notre Dame will not be restored to its former glory.

“To have it restored?” McKenzie questioned. “It won’t be the same. We don’t have craftsmen who do that kind of work anymore.”

Rashmi Pai agreed, saying that “There’s so much history behind it. Even if it’s restored, it won’t be the same.”

While Notre Dame will never be restored to the same physical state, the underlying community remains the same, and the passion and unity accumulated over several years will continue to thrive, according to Thomas.

“Despite the physical destruction, the spiritual and emotional reverence is what makes Notre Dame great. There needs to be more than flames to destroy its heart and glory,” Thomas said.