NEW YORK — One of the most iconic buildings of the Manhattan skyline will pay tribute to one of Paris’s most notable landmarks.
On Tuesday evening, the spire of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan will light up in blue, white, and red — the colors of the French flag — in tribute to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the heart of Paris, which barely escaped ruin in a fire on Monday night.
While the major structures, including its two towers, were spared, two-thirds of the roof and the cathedral’s soaring spire, were lost in the fire.
Both landmarks have their own ill-fated history.
In 2001, the original World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were brought down in the worst terrorist attack in United States history.
On Sept. 12, 2001, the French daily Le Monde announced on its front page: “Nous sommes tous américains” — We Are All Americans – in a sign of solidarity that captured the mood of the world.
The World Trade Center was rebuilt and re-opened in 2014. While the cause of the fire in Notre Dame is believed to be an accident, its damage was so great that many believed that the entire cathedral risked collapse.
“Our hearts ached as we watched a devastating fire ravage one of the world’s most sacred and celebrated religious monuments,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement. “New York stands in solidarity with the people of France and Catholics worldwide who are mourning this tremendous loss.”
In the immediate aftermath of the fire, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said that he had reached out to Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit and retired Cardinal André Armand Vingt-Trois to extend his sympathies and express solidarity with the people of Paris. Dolan said he tried to reach Aupetit by phone on Monday, but was unsuccessful, so he sent a letter instead.
During the past two days, Catholic leaders throughout the United States have pledged their prayers and solidarity with the historically Catholic country of France.
In Washington, D.C. at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the basilica’s bells tolled 50 times on Monday evening to symbolize the 50 Hail Marys that are a part of the rosary. The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, announced on Tuesday that they would follow suit. Both institutions have also pledged to help lead the fundraising push for the restoration of the French cathedral in the United States.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would like to have the rebuilding efforts completed in five years.