(The Associated Press)
Monuments are the emotional backbone of France. That accounts for the despair over a blaze that killed no one, yet seared the collective soul. It is the power Notre Dame had, and still has, despite the charred scars on its Gothic walls.
It is not only the unique beauty of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the palaces of Versailles or Mont Saint-Michel proudly facing the sea that make monuments the epitome of France, it is also the sense of nationhood they represent.
Across the nation, the pain was equally felt, especially because just about every region has a similar treasure to cherish.
For all, it was clear the monument transcended its religious meaning and instead was a symbol of European civilization.