LAUS DEO: A little history lesson you may enjoy.
One detail that is seldom mentioned about Washington, DC,
is that there can never be a building in the city of greater height than
the Washington Monument.
With all the uproar about removing the ten commandments, in God we trust,
etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time as many are not aware of
this historical information.
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 totally unaware they are even there and for
that matter, probably couldn't care less.
Once you know Laus Deo's history, you will want to share this with
everyone you know. But these words have been there for many years; they
are 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
Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and,
one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest
point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in
So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and
only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say
"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 Father of our nation, 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 to the south, the Capitol to the east, and the Lincoln
Memorial to the west.
A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state?
Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the
Constitution. So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to
carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice.
Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50
landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial
stones share a message. 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 is a presentation made by Sunday School children
from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and
Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!
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. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline,
the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first
President of our unique democracy. "One Nation, Under God."!
I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you never read it?
Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!
"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."
When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over
our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as
it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width
and height of "Laus Deo", its location, or the architects but no one who
reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or 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)