The world watched with broken hearts as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, went up in flames on Monday, April 15, 2019.
Many, like myself, couldn’t help but to watch online as the iconic spire succumbed to flames; others wept.
A group of onlookers even broke into a spontaneous round of “Ave Maria,” which beautifully demonstrated the amount of loss people all over the world were feeling.
The old structure was a place where history, art, and religion all intersected, making a lasting impression to any who had visited before.
In the wake of the fire, millions of people shared photos of their memories and photos of past trips over social media.
Brooke Windsor, a 23-year-old tourist from America, shared a photo that she had taken only an hour before the fire started on the roof of the 800-year landmark and asked for the people of Twitter’s help.
Her picture featured a dad swinging his young daughter in front of Notre Dame in a heartwarming and relatable moment.
“I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire,” she wrote on Twitter. “I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this.”
I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire. I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this ?? pic.twitter.com/pEu33ubqCK
— Brooke Windsor (@brookeawindsor) April 16, 2019
The tweet quickly garnered thousands of retweets in hopes of finding the father in the photo.
The “magic” of Twitter proved to be true because only three days later, Windsor reported back to those who had followed her search and said that the photo had in fact reached the man.
“The search is over,” she wrote. “The photo has reached the dad & family.”
Even though he ultimately decided to remain anonymous, the dad did thank Windsor for the amount of effort she put in to find him. According to Windsor, he said, “Thanks again for that beautiful photo, we will find a special place for it.”
The search is over! The photo has reached the dad & family. He has chosen to remain anonymous in the wake of tragedy, and writes: “Thanks again for that beautiful photo, we will find a special place for it.” Thank you to everyone who has shared the picture and for your kind words
— Brooke Windsor (@brookeawindsor) April 18, 2019
This story shows just how much people can be brought together through shared experiences and shared loss.
While the Notre Dame did receive an immense amount of damage from the fire, multiple families and companies have stepped forward and pledged to help fund the cathedral’s restoration, including The Walt Disney Company.
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