Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Tower that Needled It's Way Into our Hearts

Eiffel Tower
Today, as the Google Doodle reminds us, is the anniversary of the Eiffel Tower's opening to the public on March 31, 1889.  It was constructed to stand for just 20 years and then be disassembled along with the rest of the world's fairgrounds. Hitler gave instructions to demolish it as the Nazis evacuated Paris, but his generals refused.  It was too late; the tower had already become the much loved symbol of a much loved city as evidenced by Ludwig Bemelmans' iconic Madeline story, published in 1939.

It's no Burj Kaleefa (830 meters), but then Dubai is no Paris.

The Eiffel Tower (324 meters) maintained the world record for tallest man made structure for 41 years.  It dwarfs the tallest pyramid in Egypt (147 meters).

The tower  marked the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille--the French revolution.

The world's fair was just 18 years after the French-Prussian war, which saw German troops on the outskirts of Paris and 873,000 casualties (wounded and dead), and the Paris commune. It was a mere 25 years before World War I and its 37 million casualties (wounded and dead).

Through it all, the Eiffel tower has endured. As iconic as our Golden Gate bridge, whose towers (227 meters) are not as tall, but whose span is longer (2737 meters).

May she prosper long.

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