Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2007]
I received an email that said the National Park Service has changed their display at the Washington Monument to censor the words "Laus Deo" that are inscribed on the aluminum cap on the top of the Monument. Is this true?
The National Park Service, a branch of the federal government, has joined the Veterans Administration in establishing anti-Christian bigotry as public policy. The NPS has censored "God" from a key display of America's Christian heritage in Washington.
The reference is an engraving of "Laus Deo," which is Latin for "Praise be to God," on the east side of the
Since the actual inscription on the cap is unviewable atop the
Now "God" has been removed from the plaque containing information about the Washington Monument. In 2000 the plaque read:
The NPS censored the last sentence from the latest plaque, which now reads:
In addition, the replica of the cap which is in the monument has been positioned so close to the wall that the wording "Laus Deo" cannot be read. Prior to the censorship by the NPS, the replica wording could be read.
Origins: The idea of creating a monument to honor George Washington, who served as the leader of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, the presiding officer at the convention that drafted the
Although by 1848 the Monument Society had collected a significant amount of money to fund the project, selected an architect and design plan, and laid the cornerstone for the monument, the Washington Monument would not be finished for another
Work on the monument was finally completed when the capstone was set in place on
As we noted in a previous article about the monument, the apex of the structure was crowned
Because the inscriptions on the monument's capstone (sitting atop the
Sometime recently, however, the exhibit was changed so that the capstone replica, instead of being displayed at an angle relative to the wall behind it (thus making the inscriptions on all four sides viewable), was placed with the side representing the east face of the capstone set parallel to the wall (thus rendering the "LAUS DEO" inscription on that side non-viewable to visitors, as they cannot get between the exhibit case and the wall to see it). The last sentence of the informational card which previously accompanied the capstone exhibit ("The casting was inscribed with the phrase, Laus Deo, [Praise be to God]") was also omitted in the newer version.
The NPS' Chief of Public Affairs acknowledged the changes, said that they had been made inadvertently when the capstore replica was temporarily moved while the monument was undergoing renovations, and stated that the NPS would restore the exhibit to its previous state:
The replica capstone was on display in a tent on the National Mall during recent renovation of the Monument. When it was moved inside the Monument, it was placed against the wall. While the change in placement and wording was never intended to offend anyone, we understand why some visitors might feel otherwise.
We made a mistake and we are fixing it.
The capstone is being moved away from the wall so that visitors will be able to read the engravings on all four sides.
In addition, we will install interpretive panels with the exact language found on all sides of the capstone in letters easy to read. These panels will include the phrase "Laus Deo" (Praise be to God - in Latin).
I hope this is an acceptable solution. If you were personally offended, please accept our sincere apology.
And remember to Experience your America in the National Parks often.
Chief of Public Affairs
National Park Service