FRANCE on Thursday paid a day of tribute to hundreds of firefighters who had put their lives at risk to douse a blaze which devastated Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the country’s landmark symbols.Thousands of people and many elected officials were gathered in front of Paris city hall to say “thank you” to “those who helped save Notre Dame Cathedral” and applause their professionalism, bravery and determination to save the 12th-century cathedral’s structure, Xinhua reported. “Thank you to Paris firefighters, who saved, at the risk of perishing, a part of us. We have seen your boundless courage, your unwavering determination,” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said. Over 400 firefighters took part in the 15-hour battle to contain the fire that engulfed the centuries-old roof and sent the burnt towering spire through the ceiling. Despite having some trouble to put out the flames due to the building’s height, the firefighters succeeded after long hours to stop the fire’s spread to the two bell towers, prevent their collapse and save the artwork at the back of the cathedral. “We will all remember April 15, 2019. The place where we were. The people we were with. But above all, the heroism of our firefighters who saved, that night our Dame and with it 8 centuries of our history,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said. At the Elysee Palace, President Emmanuel Macron received 250 firefighters to express France’s “pride” of their “exemplary” response to contain the blaze. “Nobody will forget the first minutes. France, stunned, sees the spire of Notre Dame collapse. And immediately, they take all the risks to save what can be,” he said. “In memory of this night, they will receive the Gold Medal for an act of courage and dedication,” he added in a Twitter message. Macron meets officials, eyes Notre Dame for legacy-building: FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron is hosting officials from the United Nations’ cultural agency, where he is expected to set out ideas for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral. He will meet with state delegates from UNESCO, which oversees global heritage issues, in the Elysee Palace on Friday. Macron’s push for a speedy rebuild indicates he wants the fire-ravaged monument’s reconstruction to be part of his legacy, and is seizing the moment to try to move on from the divisive yellow vest protests. His initial wish for it to be rebuilt in just five years was met with incredulity. Macron had been due to deliver an uneasy speech Monday setting out long-awaited plans to quell anti-Government protests that have marred his presidency, but it was postponed after the fire broke out. Instead, the French leader immediately went on the scene of the fire and announced: “We will rebuild Notre Dame.” Published by: thehitvada.com .