There must be billions of tourist photos of this place. Each one, different, seen through the eyes of someone appreciating a different inch of this massive piece of history. When I told my mother, she said she would always remember this moment. She'd always remember when she heard the news that history, again, had changed forever, just like when she heard about 9/11.
I can't stop thinking about it, because as usual, I see the jokes already. The memes, the trolls, who obviously don't care. It makes me sad for them. Either they can't appreciate this loss or they're too afraid to be vulnerable. What a tragedy, either way.
Every single inch. Every single step. I can not explain the awe I was in, at 15 years old at Notre Dame. The only similar experience I have was when I was 8 years old and saw the Colosseum, the Vatican, Trevi fountain. To feel history beneath your feet. To touch it. I didn't think I could appreciate it anymore, but if I'd have known one day it would perish in flames, maybe I would have appreciated it even more. What an inconceivable thought, though. To think one day, as all things in history, it would be destroyed.
I'm grateful for all the photographs I took because I every time I look at them I find something new. Being there in person was so overwhelming, I couldn't possibly take in every image my eyes were seeing. Those kinds of experiences, at least for me, are less about remembering specific things and more about how it changes you. I was a different person when I returned home. I had smelled roses in Paris. I was changed.
I can't believe the shock and loss that my family and I are feeling over this. It seems so ridiculous, just as visitors, to feel this way. But we do. I can't imagine how the people of Paris who see it every day must feel. How many people must be asking their god, "why?"
This is the biggest loss of history and artwork in my entire lifetime. And I grieve for Paris.