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  #51  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:38 PM
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I think I agree with this. The Statue of Liberty is probably close in symbolism, but it doesn't have all the irreplaceable art and relics that Notre Dame did, not to mention the 800+ years of history.

The Smithsonian has the art and artifacts, and it would be a staggering loss, but I don't think it carries the same weight as a symbol of the nation.

The White House is probably close, but I doubt that most Americans have the same emotional connection to it as the French do to Notre Dame. Sure, it has history and art, but -- I dunno -- it doesn't seem to loom so large in our cultural identity.
Yeah, I had the same thought process that nothing here really has the same combination of symbolic structure + contents, with the White House coming closest. But the White House already burned down and was rebuilt once, it isn't nearly as old as Notre Dame, and at any given time roughly half the country would happily burn down the administration it represents.

There's also the religion factor. That hits a lot of people hard. I don't know how religious France is currently, but they're certainly historically Catholic. I would venture to say that the US has a less homogenous shared religious culture than France.

The US is too large / spread out and too new to have anything on quite the same scale that would hit as hard for the same proportion of citizens. There may be some landmarks that would have a similar effect locally (like the aforementioned Alamo). Personally, I was sad when the Old Man crumbled but I was also laughing at myself because I knew it was silly. Someone else already explained well how the World Trade Center was a vastly different situation.
  #52  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:42 PM
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I'm with asahi on this one. We'd certainly mourn the loss of the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, or White House but none of them carry the same cultural baggage that 850 years of existence brings with it.
I disagree with both of you. It's not necessarily the amount of history, but the iconic nature. Myself, I think the Statue of Liberty burning down or being destroyed would have a similar impact, though in a different way. It's not a religious symbol, but it's still an extremely iconic symbol that is recognized world wide and would have quite an emotional impact.

All that said, the fire was devastating to me, personally. I have pictures of my wife and I there when we were in our 30's, laughing and having a good time. My wife and I broke them out last night when we heard the news and I cried. I'm tearing up right now, just thinking about it.
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  #53  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:46 PM
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Statue of Liberty
Capitol Building
Independence Hall in Philadelphia (and the Liberty Bell)
Lincoln Memorial
I'm really surprised that it took 35 posts to get to Independence Hall. It's where this country (& the basis for modern democracies) was founded.

I'd humbly suggest that monuments like the Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Mt. Rushmore are just iconic monuments; nothing much necessarily happened there. Yes, some politician may have given a speech in front of one of them but the monument itself doesn't have the history that Independence Hall does.
  #54  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:49 PM
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I'm really surprised that it took 35 posts to get to Independence Hall. It's where this country (& the basis for modern democracies) was founded.

I'd humbly suggest that monuments like the Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Mt. Rushmore are just iconic monuments; nothing much necessarily happened there. Yes, some politician may have given a speech in front of one of them but the monument itself doesn't have the history that Independence Hall does.
But independence hall isn't iconic outside of America. Hell, my WAG is most non-Americans would, at best, have a vague idea of what it is. On the other hand, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol that is widely recognized outside of the US by millions...maybe even billions. They might not know much about America, but just about everyone knows what the SoL is.
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  #55  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:50 PM
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True.

Speaking as a lifelong New Yorker (and someone who was actually in the WTC for the 1993 bombing), the Twin Towers were really just second-tier office space. They had no cultural significance whatsoever.

Which, of course, in no way diminishes the impact of the attack of September 11, 2001.

I'm just saying that the buildings themselves had no particular significance.
As a Chicagoan, I kinda feel the same way about the Sears Tower. Its an office building.
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  #56  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:54 PM
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There are certainly monuments and structures that mean something to us emotionally, but I don’t think any of those listed have anywhere near the level of artistic and historic significance that the impact would be similar.

The Lincoln Memorial could be rebuilt and the new one would serve as well as the old. None of those monuments are old enough such that the loss would be as devastating as losing something like the Taj Mahal or the Sistine Chapel.
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  #57  
Old 04-16-2019, 08:58 PM
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Smithsonian.
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Originally Posted by Defensive Indifference View Post
The Smithsonian has the art and artifacts, and it would be a staggering loss, but I don't think it carries the same weight as a symbol of the nation.
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Any of the Smithsonian Museums as well. There is a lot of irreplaceable stuff in those museums.
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While the Smithsonian is, I'm sure, supermegainteresting, it's not something most foreigners would recognize (I just realized I had no idea what it looks like and took a peek ok, pretty red brick building but nope, I wouldn't have been able to pick it out of a lineup).
As Bear_Nenno intimated, the Smithsonian comprises multiple buildings, museums, and institutions scattered across the Mall and beyond. This includes the National Air and Space Museum, the National Zoo, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of Natural History, and a hell of a lot more. The red brick building, usually called the Castle, is just the visitor center and some offices. A fire that took out "The Smithsonian", even if we limit ourselves to the DC buildings, would also take out most of the core of Washington, DC. If it just took out the Castle, well, no small loss.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:06 PM
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I did a quick google search, and, unsurprisingly, there are over 200 replicas of the Statue of Liberty outside of the US. I had seen one in Paris (there are apparently 4, and several others around France in various other cities), and I thought I remembered one in Taiwan and one in Japan, but I was amazed to see where they all are....it's a staggering number and the places range from across Europe, Central and South America to Asia, even in the Middle East. Hell, there are 4 in China (I'd guess these are more tourist things, as there are all sorts of things like this in China, including replica Bavarian villages and such)!


I don't think that the age of an iconic building or monument is everything. For good or ill, the US has impacted people around the world, and our symbols are pretty well known. And that one is probably one of the best known.
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  #59  
Old 04-16-2019, 09:06 PM
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I agree. The WTC wasn't that big a hit when it first went up, as I recall. If they had come down in an ordinary fire I don't think there would be sobbing and singing of hymns like there was in Paris.

I think the closest thing to Notre Dame in the US has to be the Statue of Liberty. Maybe the White House as a close second.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:57 PM
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To turn this around, watching the spire collapse gave me the same feeling as I had watching the towers crumble on 9-11. The feeling that something of indescribable horror had just happened, that something had ended and that things would never be the same again.
Neither American nor French but the fall of the first tower on 911 was far more horrific to me. Up until that point I was focused upon a scene of escape and rescue, then I witnessed the death of hundreds. The recent Grenfell fire in the UK came closer.
  #61  
Old 04-16-2019, 10:09 PM
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As a Chicagoan, I kinda feel the same way about the Sears Tower. Its an office building.
Wow. As a Chicagoan, I couldn't disagree more. Since I was a child (b. 1975), it was the building that defined the city to me.
  #62  
Old 04-16-2019, 10:28 PM
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For me the statue of Liberty is as much the poem bolted to it, as the statue itself: it makes it mean what it means. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” It is what is best about America. If the statue falls, we’ll make a new one. Destroying that idea however, that would change us forever. If the gateway Arch were to fall over, it’d be noteworthy, but not in and of itself tragic. But if the US stops being forward looking and eager to build a future, that’s tragic.
  #63  
Old 04-17-2019, 03:53 PM
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The Lincoln Memorial.
Brooklyn Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge (beyond the obvious impact on traffic).
70% of americans would not pick the correct bridge, if you put brooklyn bridge in a lineup.

As for having the same impact as Notre Dame has on the french... nope.
Maybe, *possibly* the White House or Statue of Liberty. Both of these are visually instantly identifiable to most people, and bear a large measure of national pride. But neither inspires the sort of devotion that, for example, St. Paul's cathedral in London has. It comes with America being so very young.

It would need to be someplace that has immense cultural AND religious significance, AND that is recognized by virtually all the citizens of the country on sight.

The American sites that fit the criteria on one aspect, fail on the others.
For example, the Arch of St. Louis would be recognized by just about anyone. But who knows why it is there? To most, it is just a piece of decor.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:18 PM
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Mar A Lago. Can you imagine the grief and rage if it burned to the ground? Some might celebrate but 100 million Americans would lose their minds.
  #65  
Old 04-17-2019, 05:29 PM
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As a Chicagoan, I kinda feel the same way about the Sears Tower. Its an office building.
Hah! You called it the Sears Tower! You DO have an emotional attachment!
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:00 PM
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I think there is a critical additional fact that people are missing: Notre Dame was visited 13M times per year! That means a tremendous number of people (around the world) have a personal connection with it. Nowhere in the U.S. approaches that number. White House- a couple of hundred per day. Capitol maybe a couple of thousand. The Lincoln Memorial would definitely my choice in Washington just due to most visitors and it being a "heart" of the country with MLK and other famous speeches.

Distances in France were measured from Paris Point Zero in front of Notre Dame! No where in the U.S. has such a point.

Shooting down other ideas:
-Mount Rushmore - as a former South Dakotan, there was discussion of putting Reagan on there at one point as well as it being on stolen land... it is just not that revered. There was an Onion article 20 years back: "South Dakota might, just might put Mt. Rushmore on their quarter."
-Corn Palace - has my vote
-Independence Hall/ Liberty Bell- I have been to Philadelphia 10x and never considered visiting either. They just aren't in the public consciousness.

Statue of Liberty may be a contender. I also like the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges.

But my addition is Half Dome in Yosemite or Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Iconic, well visited and more a part of our identity than any single building.
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:07 AM
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...Old Faithful in Yellowstone.
Someday, that Super-Volcano is gonna blow, and that whole part of the world will be wiped off the face of the earth.

I heard it was going to be in 2021. Better hurry and visit if you haven't.
  #68  
Old 04-18-2019, 02:12 AM
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Someday, that Super-Volcano is gonna blow, and that whole part of the world will be wiped off the face of the earth.

I heard it was going to be in 2021. Better hurry and visit if you haven't.
If I visited it would blow up faster. So, out of the kindness of my heart I'm staying back. Dang, I wanted to see that, too.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:34 PM
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I love the Statue of Liberty and all, but if it burnt to the ground, I think we'd just build another one. The Statue of Liberty is mostly seen; the Notre Dame cathedral is experienced. People pray there. Royalty, Napoleon...they were coronated there. It's a place where Parisians have gathered in or around for nearly 9 centuries and people were building it for 2 centuries prior to that.
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:19 PM
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I think that you need to look at the cultural significance from a non-USian perspective, and the only things likely to trigger that kind of 'rest of the world' emotional response would likely be Statue of Liberty - which might even mean more to Europeans than it does for Americans due to its connection with European immigration - and destruction of the Empire State building.

Pretty much everything else that has been named might well have lots of significance to Americans, but to the rest of the world, not so much
  #71  
Old 04-18-2019, 02:26 PM
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It's a place where Parisians have gathered in or around for nearly 9 centuries and people were building it for 2 centuries prior to that.
The majority of those churches which took decades or centuries to build were in use waaaaay before they were officially finished (those which actually were officially finished rather than simply running out of gas), and Notre Dame appears to be one of those which replaced an older, smaller structure (such were often removed only after the new structure was considered advanced enough). The Sagrada Familia isn't finished yet; the first Mass in its central nave took place before the nave's ceiling was put in, but at that point there had been daily Masses in the crypt for about a hundred years (with some interruptions due to social disruption).
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Last edited by Nava; 04-18-2019 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:22 PM
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To those of you saying the World Trade Centers... do you think it would still be that way if there was no loss of life? Because to me that was what made it tragic. The loss of life, the feeling of vulnerability that we were attacked on American soil. In my mind, It wasn't buildings that made the event iconic.

The Lincoln Memorial, now that is a pretty good answer, in my opinion, or even the statue of Liberty. If either of those somehow caught on fire; and were gutted, that would bring some pretty strong emotions.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:19 PM
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The Statue of Liberty would be the worst, imo, but it would look really cool if it was on fire.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:32 PM
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I'm glad that Mt. Rushmore has been mentioned but I'm surprised how unmoved everyone here seems to be by the idea of losing it. I will forever be in awe of how it was carved by glaciers over thousands of years. If you use your imagination you can almost see people's faces among the craggy outcrops.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:51 PM
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Maybe just a New York thing, but watching a beauty like St. Patrick's Cathedral burning down would be much worse for me than anything in Washington D.C..
Holy crap. Some dickhead tries to burn down St. Patrick's Cathedral.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:57 PM
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I agree with "nothing." I think it is fair to say that even as an American, I had more of an emotional reaction to Notre Dame burning than I would have any building in the United States.

I also agree that the emotion from 9/11 was not because of the loss of the buildings, but because of the fact that we were attacked and that lives were lost.
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Old 04-19-2019, 03:11 AM
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I agree the White House could meet the criteria. Unless Trump was inside and consumed by the fire as this would present the country with a moral dilemma.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:51 AM
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I agree with "nothing." I think it is fair to say that even as an American, I had more of an emotional reaction to Notre Dame burning than I would have any building in the United States.
Have you been to Paris? Are you a history buff?

My gf has visited France several times and has been to Notre Dame. The fire really affected her. She went through her vacation pictures with me and was close to tears a few times.

On the other hand, I've never been there and I'm not really into history. If I won a trip to Paris I'd take the cash equivalent. I felt bad for the French people, but that was about it.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:32 AM
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I'm glad that Mt. Rushmore has been mentioned but I'm surprised how unmoved everyone here seems to be by the idea of losing it. I will forever be in awe of how it was carved by glaciers over thousands of years. If you use your imagination you can almost see people's faces among the craggy outcrops.
win.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:35 AM
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I'm in the camp that the US doesn't really have anything lite like Notre Dame. Closest I came up with is Disneyland also. Not so much Disney World- it's a sequel. Disneyland is a place where people have great memories, has a bit of history, especially in the context of California, and is a monument to the great American ideal that you can start small and become an icon.

The Golden Gate Bridge going down would break hearts here in California and not just because of the traffic problems. It's an icon of the state. I just did a Google image search on "California" and got four kinds of images: maps, beaches, traffic and the GG Bridge.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:46 AM
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I'm glad that Mt. Rushmore has been mentioned but I'm surprised how unmoved everyone here seems to be by the idea of losing it. I will forever be in awe of how it was carved by glaciers over thousands of years. If you use your imagination you can almost see people's faces among the craggy outcrops.
The talk of about Mount Rushmore reminds me that New Hampshire's iconic "Old Man in the Mountain" stone face collapsed back on May 3, 2003. People in the state were definitely upset but they moved on quickly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Man_of_the_Mountain
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:28 PM
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Have you been to Paris? Are you a history buff?
Yes and absolutely loved it. And yes.

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I'm in the camp that the US doesn't really have anything lite like Notre Dame. Closest I came up with is Disneyland also. Not so much Disney World- it's a sequel. Disneyland is a place where people have great memories, has a bit of history, especially in the context of California, and is a monument to the great American ideal that you can start small and become an icon.

The Golden Gate Bridge going down would break hearts here in California and not just because of the traffic problems. It's an icon of the state. I just did a Google image search on "California" and got four kinds of images: maps, beaches, traffic and the GG Bridge.
But let's say that Disneyland became engulfed in flames. Some people might be upset, but would people be standing around watching in horror or be glued to the tv set?

I'm not saying I wouldn't be disappointed, upset, or some other mild form of ill at ease if certain U.S. buildings burned down (again accidentally with no loss of life) but all of our buildings are so comparatively new and so replaceable that I don't see any real comparison.
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Old 04-19-2019, 03:15 PM
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at one time id of said the statute of liberity ..... however since the words on it were once stirring but are now hypocritical I dont think it would be mourned that much ......
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:29 PM
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Okay, if the Statue of Liberty caught fire, and then somehow fell onto the Smithsonian...
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:35 PM
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Not a monument, but I think a lot of people would be devastated if the National Air and Space Museum burnt down. Think of all the significant 20th century artifacts in it - the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St Louis, the Bell X-1, the Apollo-11 Command Module...
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:13 PM
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I asked my high school students to name iconic buildings or structures. Taipei 101 was the obvious choice for Taiwan.

The Statute of Liberty was the first thing thought of for America, along with the White House, the Hollywood sign and Times Square.

In Japan, there was the Tokyo tower. In the UK, that one bell and a bridge, as they put it. South Korea drew a blank.

Such is life, as narrated by 16-year-old Taiwanese kids.
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