Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Washington continues to Give Praise to God
On the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington, DC are two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument have no idea they are even there and...for that matter...probably couldn't care less!
But there they are...5.125 inches high ... perched atop the monument to the father of our nation. The Washington Monument is
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 world. And what might those two words ... composed of just four syllables and only seven letters ... mean? Very simply ... "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 the tribute Laus Deo! Praise be to God!
From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure ... a visitor can take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. And 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 say?
How interesting! And ... no doubt ... intended to carry a meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God! One interesting feature is the interior iron stairway with
When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on
I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you never read it? Well now is your opportunity ... 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."
As you might have guessed ... I kind of like the idea that our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase "under God." It is clear when one studies the history of our great nation that Washington's America was one of the few countries in all the world established under the guidance, direction and banner of Almighty God, to whom was given all praise, honor and worship by the great men who formed and fashioned her pivotal foundations. And when one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol ... one will easily find the signature of God.
We are a nation under God!!! Laus Deo!!! Praise be to God!!!
Origins: This item contains a good deal of information about the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., but since most of the interest in this piece seems to be about the religious references cited, we'll focus on that aspect here.
SETTING OF CAPSTONE.
CHESTER A. ARTHUR.
W. W. CORCORAN, Chairman.
M. E. BELL.
Act of August 2, 1876.
CORNER STONE LAID ON BED OF FOUNDATION
JULY 4, 1848.
FIRST STONE AT HEIGHT OF 152 FEET LAID
AUGUST 7, 1880.
CAPSTONE SET DECEMBER 6, 1884.
CHIEF ENGINEER AND ARCHITECT,
THOS. LINCOLN CASEY,
COLONEL, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.
GEORGE W. DAVIS,
CAPTAIN, 14TH INFANTRY.
BERNARD R. GREEN,
P. H. MCLAUGHLIN.
L'Enfant specified in notes accompanying the plan that these avenues were to be wide, grand, lined with trees, and situated in a manner that would visually connect ideal topographical sites throughout the city, where important structures, monuments, and fountains were to be erected. On paper, L'Enfant shaded and numbered
While L'Enfant's plans did eventually create a "cross" in a literal sense, that shape was a byproduct of a symmetrical design laid out along two major north-south and east-west axes; there's no evidence that L'Enfant had any religious significance in mind. Moreover, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials were not conceived until the
As the Park Service notes of the Lincoln Memorial:
The next critical issue facing the committee was the location for the new memorial. At one time, an idea was discussed that a memorial highway should link Washington with Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The bill, however, determined that [the memorial] would be in
For the commission these were not easy answers. Early plans included displaying the Declaration of Independence in the Archives building and placing a memorial directly across from the Archives. Another suggestion involved creating a colonial style library as a source of education and inspiration. However, the commission along with FDR, who was now President of the United States, felt that none of these ideas were suitable for conveying Jefferson's ideals and personality. They felt that a memorial to Jefferson needed to show all aspects of his character. Eventually, the commission would settle on a site that would complete the plans proposed by the McMillan Commission of 1901. Essentially, the McMillan Commission idea was to complete a five-point composition in the middle of the city which was first proposed by Pierre L'Enfant, the original designer of the federal city. By 1922, all but the left arm of the great cross had been completed. It seemed only fitting that a memorial to Thomas Jefferson complete the final phase of this composition.
Since the political divisions that ultimately led to the Civil War were looming as the Monument was completed, some of the memorial stones include inscriptions entreating Heaven to preserve the Union, such as a stone at the 140-foot landing, contributed by the city of Baltimore, which reads as follows:
One of the stones received from other countries was a memorial stone placed at the 220-foot landing, contributed by Chinese Christians from Ningo, Chekiang Province, China. The inscription on the stone is not a prayer, however, but a eulogy for George Washington.
Some of the memorial stones include Biblical citations, such as two stones on the 260-foot placed by the children of Sunday School groups from
The latter stone also includes a representation of an open Bible in relief at its center, on which are inscribed two Biblical quotations relating to children:
- Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence; presented by
- American Constitutions; by W. Patton.
- Large design of the Washington National Monument, with the facsimile of the names of the Presidents of the United States and others.
- Large design of the Washington National Monument. Lithographed.
- Historical sketch of the Washington National Monument since its origin, in manuscript.
- Portrait of Washington, from Stuart's painting, Fanueil Hall.
- Plate engraved with the names of the officers and members of the Board of Managers.
- The Statesman's Manual, containing Presidents' messages from Washington to Polk, from 1789 to 1846,
vols. 1 and 2.
- Copy of the grant for the site of the Monument under the joint resolution of Congress.
- Constitutions of the Washington National Monument Society, addresses circulars, commissions, instructions, form of bond, from 1835 to 1848.
- Small design of Monument and likeness of Washington, with blank certificates for contributors.
- Watterston's New Guide to Washington; by
- Map of the City of Washington; by Joseph Ratcliffe.
- Laws of the Corporation of Washington; by A. Rothwell.
- The Seat of Government; by J. B. Varnum, Jr.
- Statistics by John Sessford of the number of dwellings, value of improvements, assessments of the real and personal tax, etc., in the city of Washington, from 1824 to 1848, print and manuscript; by John Sessford.
- Census of the United States, 1840;
- Force's Guide to Washington and vicinity, 1848; by W. Q. Force.
- Drake's Poems;
- Catalogue of the Library of Congress, printed 1839; Catalogue from 1840 to 1847, both inclusive; by Joint Committee on the Library of Congress.
- Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, 1846—47; by R. B. Anderson.
- All the coins of the United States, from the eagle to the half-dime inclusive.
- Census of the United States from 1790 to 1848, inclusive.
- A list of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, its officers, with the dates of their respective appointments; by W. J. Carroll, clerk Supreme Court of the United States.
- Proceedings of the General Society of the Cincinnati, with the original institution of the order and facsimile of the signatures of the original members of the State Society of Pennsylvania; by Charles L. Coltman.
- Constitution and General Laws of the Great Council of the Improved Order of Red Men of the District of Columbia.
- By-Laws of Powhatan Tribe, No. 1, and General Laws of the Great Council of the same Order.
- American silk flag; presented by Joseph K. Boyd, citizen of Washington, District of Columbia, on the 4th of July, 1848.
- The Temple of Liberty, two copies, one ornamented and lettered with red. The letters are so arranged in each that the name of Washington may be spelled more than one thousand times in connection; by John Kilbourn.
- Design of the Monument, small plate, produced by a process called electrotype; by Charles Fenderich, Washington.
- A copy of the constitution of the first organized temperance society in America; L. H. Sprague, July 4, 1848. Sons of Temperance in the District of Columbia.
- Report on the Organization of the Smithsonian Institution; by Professor Henry.
- Coat of Arms of the Washington family; by Mrs. Jane Charlotte Washington, July 4, 1848.
- The Blue Book for 1847; Congressional Directory; by J. & G. S. Gideon.
- Thirty-first Annual Report of the American Colonization Society.
- Message of the President of the United States and accompanying documents, 1847.
- Navy Register, 1848; by C. Alexander.
- Coast Survey Document; Army Register for 1848.
- The Washington Monument; Shall It Be Built? by J. S. Lyon.
- Vail's Description of the Magnetic Telegraph; by A. Vail.
- Report of the Joint Committee on the Library, May 4, 1848, and an engraving; by M. Vettemare.
- Morse's North American Atlas.
- African Repository and Colonial Journal, 1848.
- Military Laws of the United States, 1846; by G. Templeman.
- Appleton's Railroad and Steamboat Companion.
- Daguerreotype likeness of General and Mrs. Mary Washington, with a description of the Deguerreotype process; by John S. Grubb, Alexandria, Va.
- True Republican; the likeness of all the Presidents to 1846, and inaugural addresses; by
- Silver medal, representing General Washington and the National Monument; by Jacob Seegar.
- Copies of the Union Magazine, National Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book, Graham's Magazine, and Columbian Magazine, for July, 1848; by Brooke & Shillington.
- Constitution of the Smithsonian Association, on the Island, instituted
- Harper's Illustrated Catalogue; by S. Colman.
- Smithsonian Institution - Report of the Commissioners on its organization; Reports from the Board of Regents; by W. W. Seaton.
- American Archives; A Documentary History of the American Colonies to the present time; fourth series,
vol. 5;by Peter Force.
- Guide to the Capitol; by R. Mills.
- An American dollar; by Miss Sarah Smith, Stafford, N. J.
- American State Papers, 1832; National Intelligencer for 1846 (bound); by Gales & Seaton.
- Abstract Log for the use of American Navigators; by Lieut. M. F. Maury, U. S. Navy; by
M. F. Maury.
- Report of Professor Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey; by Coast Survey Office.
- Facsimile of Washington's accounts; by Michael Nourse.
- Claypole's American Daily Advertiser, December 25, 1799, and the Philadelphia Gazette,
December 27,1799, containing a full account of the death and funeral ceremony of General Washington, the official proceedings of Congress, Executive, etc.; by G. M. Grouard.
- Publication No. 1, Boston, 1833.
- A cent of 1783 of the United States of America; by W. G. Paine.
- United States Fiscal Department, vols. 1 and 2; by R. Mayo, M. D.
- Maps and Charts of the Coast Survey; by Survey. Office.
- Letters of John Quincy Adams to W. L. Stone, and introduction; letters of
J. Q. Adamsto Edward Livingstone, Grand High Priest, etc.; Vindication of General Washington, etc., by Joseph Ritner, Governor of Pennsylvania, with a letter to Daniel Webster and his reply, printed in 1841; American Anti-mason, No. 1, Vol. 1,Hartford, Conn., 1839, Maine, Free Press; Correspondence Committee of York, Pa., to Richard Rush, April, 1831; his answer, May 4,1841; Credentials of a Delegate from Jefferson County, Mo. and proceedings of a meeting of citizens to make the appointment of a delegate; by Henry Gassitt, Boston, Mass.
- Annual Report of the Comptroller of the State of New York,
January 5,1848; Tolls, Trade, and Tonnage of the New York Canals, 1847; State of New York—first report of the Commissioner, Practice and Pleadings; by. Hon. WashingtonHunt.
- Specimens of Continental money, 1776; by Thomas Adams.
- Report of the Commissioner of Patents, 1847; by Edmund Burke.
- Walton's Vermont Register and Farmers' Almanac, 1848; by Hon. Mr. Henry.
- Maury's Wind and Current Charts of the North Atlantic; by M. F. Maury.
- Astronomical Observations for 1845, made under M. F. Maury, at the Washington Observatory; by
M. F. Maury.
- Casts from the seals of the S. of T. and I. O. R. M.; by; J. W. Eckloff.
- Journals of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Thirtieth Congress and Documents; by
R. P. Anderson.
The letter from which the "prayer" passage was taken was written not by George Washington, but by his aide de camp, David Cobb. (How much of the letter reflected Washington's own thoughts and
Compare the original and modified versions:
Now I make it my earnest prayer that God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens and the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field, and finally, that He would 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 an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. George Washington.
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.
| A History of the Washington Monument
(U.S. Park Service)