Alaskans react to Notre Dame cathedral fire seen around the globe

Photo: ZUMA / MGN
Published: Apr. 15, 2019 at 6:32 PM AKDT
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The fire seen around the globe Monday was that of Cathedral de Notre-Dame, the historic location well-known as one of France's most famous landmarks. It went up in flames in the City of Lights around 6 p.m. local time.

However, while many refer to the cathedral as a tourist attraction, the historic building remains a place of worship for people around the world, and lives in the memories of the millions who visit it each year.

"It is still very much a functioning church that the people of Paris are kind enough to allow us access to," said Nicole Taylor, of Wrangell, who visited France at the end of November last year. "As someone who is not religious, I was still very much in awe of the faith and fortitude it must have taken to create such a structure.

"You feel very small and humbled by it, regardless," she said. "It is a very sad day."

Parisians and everyone else with a view of the famed cathedral could be seen expressing shock and awe in photos and videos disseminated by networks from all corners of the world. At the same time, many eyes were on Paris - including here in Alaska.

"When I first saw it I was in total awe," said Kathy Stuber Flippen, who was there in 1969 on a study tour of five countries in six weeks. "It was so incredibly beautiful, and it was almost like sensory overload because there was so much to see."

Flippen said the way events transpired Monday brought her to tears.

"The thing that caused my tears was when I saw and heard the Parisians singing Ava Maria on the street while they watched it burn," she said. "It makes me so sad to see history taken away from us in the blink of an eye."

With thousands of reactions, photos also began flooding social media: An outpouring of messages reminiscing on times spent near one of the most famed pieces of architecture - despite competing with so many others - in the French capital.

"It's honestly been hard to describe the emotions of today," said Adam Legg of Anchorage, who visited with his wife last May. "Watching the videos this morning coming out of Paris was surreal.

"Whether Notre-Dame represented a place of worship for your faith, or an architectural marvel and a historical location, it seems like Notre-Dame represents something special for everyone," he said. "Today was a loss for all of us."

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