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“Is Paris burning?”
That is a direct quote from Adolf Hitler in 1944 on a phone call with his general, Dietrich Hugo Hermann von Choltitz, who oversaw the Nazi occupation of Paris.
Hitler - Orders - Level - City - Paris
Hitler had given his highly decorated general orders to “level” the city of Paris. At the time, Von Choltitz had headquartered his operation at the iconic Hotel Le Meurice which sits on the Jardin des Tuileries. He had been overcome by the beauty, history and culture of Paris and so disobeyed the orders of “The Fuhrer.” Beauty is a force of nature that we can’t fully describe.
Hitler’s question inspired the famed 1966 French film, “Is Paris Burning?”
Words - News - Yesterday - Notre - Dame
Those words came to mind as I turned on the news yesterday to see that Notre Dame was in flames.
Some years ago, my wife and I had the great privilege to sit in Sunday mass at the Notre Dame. It’s hard to describe the uniqueness and beauty of this iconic place of worship. It sits on an island in the middle of the Seine River, as a relic of faith, the heartbeat of one of the world’s most progressive and diverse cities.
Notre - Dame - Years - Construction - Desecration
The Notre Dame has been around for roughly 850 years since construction began and has survived its desecration in the French Revolution and restoration in the middle of the 19th century.
When I saw the burning of its roof, my heart sank. Part of me was wondering why I was so moved. Should I be so moved? There are countless human crises going on around the world that rightfully deserve a deeper churning in my soul than the devastation of a building, whether old or new, plain or immaculate. But I couldn’t shake it; I was moved, nonetheless, as it seems were a host others.
Kind - Begs - Question
And it kind of begs the question: Why? Why has...
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