We watched with great dismay as the plumes of smoke rose over Paris from the historic Notre Dame cathedral. And yes, we gasped along with the millions of watchers worldwide as the tower fell in the midst of the conflagration. There was an aching void, a hole in our hearts, as one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks anywhere in the world, indeed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, literally went up in smoke and flames. It was a catastrophe of epic proportions, and many would suggest, Biblical proportions, what with an institution that means so much to Christendom, meeting such an unfortunate fate right smack in the middle of the holiest week on the Christian calendar. We certainly mourn with the faithful!
Naturally, there were many who immediately wondered whether this was an act of terror, and there were even some who speculated that perhaps extremist elements among the protesting Yellow Vests had a hand in such a dastardly deed. So far however, the authorities have suggested that the fire appears to be “accidental.” Of course, the investigation will continue, as will the determination of the French people, more specifically French President Emanuel Macron, who is pledging to rebuild the 850-year old cathedral in five years. We certainly support and hail that can-do spirit displayed by the French, and we wish them all the very best.
Noteworthily, the donors have been stepping up in a big way, and the fund for the restoration of the venerable edifice now stands at close to a billion dollars. Seems, the world is coming together in solidarity with our stricken French brothers and sisters. And we share their relief and joy that the classic pipe organ, most of the pews, as well as dozens of sacred relics were rescued in time. We join in glad adoration with songs of “Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the king of creation.” Much like the famed Phoenix, Notre Dame will rise from the ashes, and once again, the believers will be able to “In His temple draw near!”
Naturally, we cannot help but recall the old adage, “When your neighbor’s house is on fire, wet yours,” because we believe that it is instructive. This is as good a time as any to take steps to prevent any such accident from befalling our precious historical sites here in Antigua and Barbuda. Indeed, even as we watched in horror the inferno over Paris, we could not help bur cast our minds to our dearly beloved St. John’s Cathedral, Government House, the Ebenezer Methodist Church, Gilbert’s Memorial, St. Peter’s Anglican, Nelson’s Dockyard, Clarence House, St. Barnabas Church, St. Paul’s Church, Valley Church and so on and so forth. Clearly, vigilance will have to be the watchword.
And speaking of heartbreak caused by a fire. It is with deep sadness that we ponder the tragedy that befell the First Triple Crown Stables and Mr. Jerry Roberts and his partners yesterday morning. Three beautiful creatures perished in blaze at the Cassada Gardens Race Track, among them, Demolition Man, Antigua’s first and only Triple Crown winner. Prince of Wadadli and First Chapter also met their demise, in a most gruesome manner. Our hearts are broken and we grieve with the entire racing fraternity. What an awful way for these gentle and noblest of God’s creation to die. It certainly speaks to the uncertainty and whimsy of life.
Again, we here at NEWSCO join in embracing the Turf Club and all horse racing owners and patrons. Indeed, animal lovers everywhere. But the show must go on! And the Turf Club is determined to host its first leg of the Triple Crown this Easter Monday. Bravo! Seems, much like the people of Paris, the Turf Club and the First Triple Crown Stables will rise from these ashes. But in all things, we must needs be vigilant!