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war....

From With three armies on and behind the western front, 1918 by Arthur Stanley Riggs (1879-1952).

p.95
“[...] a house with every window blown in, and everything else blown out; an utterly gutted residence, roofless and floorless, with everything heaped in wild confusion in the cellar—and a shaving mug and brush still serenely standing on half a mantelpiece; [...] a cafe sliced neatly in two, with its bar and bottles in the standing half - and nothing broken.

“As we stood looking at the cathedral [Arras] one brilliant morning, and marvelling at the unique change shell-fire had made—in this case transforming one of the ugliest renaissance churches in france into a sublime and inspiring ecclesiastical ruin [...]”

p.168
“[...] the cathedral [Noyon] is less damaged than I expected: only the organ shows traces of the invader's sacrilegious hand - its pipes ravaged to make shell-bands.”

p.191
“there has been idle talk in both France and America about restoring the cathedral [Reims] [...]”

The author then waxes lyrical about how it cannot and should not be done. The restoration of Reims cathedral has been done, albeit in its vandalised state. Remember the book was written in 1918.

related material
also see
Arras cathedral
Noyon cathedral
Reims cathedral

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