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Tidbit of Information: Laus Deo: Praise God


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    Many thanks to Dave Lyons for sending along this Tidbit of Information, March 13, 2005.
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Laus Deo: Praise God

True Story of the Washington Monument

A Lesson in History

In the District of Columbia, there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument. By law, no other building in D.C. is allowed to be taller.

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are blithely unaware the words are there, up until now.

The words Laus Deo are situated at an altitude of 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world.

What do those two words, in Latin, mean? They mean, in Latin, "Praise be to God!"

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Creator, Laus Deo ... Praise be to God!"

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant...a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the North. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the West.

Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps, one can pause to rest at each landing and read the message engraved into the stones. On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6.

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy, formed as "One Nation, Under God."

Here is George Washington's prayer for America.

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Laus Deo!

When one observes the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, one will find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed on many monuments.

The uncaring masses may forget the width and height of "Laus Deo", its location, or the architects but no one can forget its meaning how they are echoed by these words: "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127: 1)

This is a lesson in history that our children may probably never learn in the so-called free public schools, but it is written in stone at the top of highest spot of the land set aside for the center of government of this Great Land. Someday it will evolve from coercive bureaucratic bullying to the true process of governing this great land, with God's help.

Laus Deo !

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