We are truly saddened this afternoon, watching the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
- News coverage of the fire, courtesy of CNBC
- Excellent Twitter thread by St. Louis firefighter Gregg Favre
First things first – We send all of our best wishes and prayers to the brave Parisian firefighters who are risking life and limb to try to contain and extinguish this horrible fire. May you all return home safely from your valiant efforts today.
Notre Dame de Paris certainly holds a special place in our family. Of course, Philly and Middle Age Miles sons Zack and Dylan graduated from the American university sharing the same name as the Cathedral. And Philly’s side of the family being Catholic, the Cathedral has long been a sacred icon of the faith.
We’ve had the good fortune to visit the Cathedral twice, once in the summer of 2015, and again in the fall of 2017.
2015 was our first trip to Paris together, and of course Notre Dame Cathedral was on our short list of places to see. We were truly awed by the Catehdral’s majesty and beauty. As we approached the Cathedral, with great anticipation, and ultimately entered, we could feel that we were visiting someplace historic, important and iconic.
Our return in November 2017 was even more special. On that trip, we traveled to Paris with Middle Age Miles son Dylan and his then-girlfriend Alli, both graduates of the University of Notre Dame.
Dylan had decided to propose to Alli while we were in Paris, and he decided he would pop the question at Notre Dame Cathedral. In short, the plan was that they would take an early-morning guided tour of the Cathedral, then afterwards, he’d ask her to marry him somewhere just outside. Dylan and I talked about where would be a good spot, and we had a couple of phone calls where each of us zoomed in on the Cathedral and surrounding area on Google Earth to scout potential proposal locations as well as back-up locations in case something didn’t work.
Fast-forward to the big day – the tour ran long, and Dylan couldn’t wait. He coaxed Alli away from the tour, swept her outside into the chilly November late morning, found a nice looking spot along the south side of the Cathedral, dropped to one knee and asked. And good news, Alli said yes!
Philly and I came along shortly thereafter, met the happy couple in front of the Cathedral, and we all proceeded to celebrate with some hot chocolate and snacks before we ventured off to see the Eiffel Tower. Of course, it’s a day that none of us will ever forget, and it truly fixed a special place in our hearts for Notre Dame Cathedral.
Today, we’re in the homestretch of planning for the big wedding, which is now about 6 weeks away. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that today’s news hits us particularly hard. And hopefully the Cathedral will be rebuilt – but it will never be quite the same. Our hearts go out to the people of Paris and the rest of France, and to Catholics worldwide during this Holy Week. We mourn together the loss of this spectacular and majestic icon.
Do you have special memories of Notre Dame Cathedral that you’d like to share? Please feel free to respond in the Comments.
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