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Laus Deo Praise be to God


“Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit é Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.” A George Washington prayer

Amid the ongoing nationwide debate concerning the removal of the Ten Commandments from public displays, possibly the following history lesson is also worthy of review.

Reportedly, Washington, D.C., laws prohibit constructing any building taller than the Washington Monument a monument that overlooks those 69 square miles that serve as home for our U.S. Capitol. We Americans aren’t being taught and most are not aware that, engraved on one section of a pyramid-shaped aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument, facing skyward at 555 feet, 5.125 inches above the earth, are two significant Latin words: Laus Deo. Translated into English they mean ’Praise be to God!’

That phrase was purposely selected and placed on the cap at the highest point above the most powerful city of the most successful nation in the world. Yet, the public is no longer able to view these words because of their inaccessible location. And, unfortunately, they typically go unmentioned to visitors to this national monument that was built to honor George Washington, the father of our nation.

From atop this giant obelisk monument of granite and marble, visitors can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Washington, D.C. Looking out from that vantage point, they can easily identify the original plat of the city as designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant. His design creates a cross, imposed upon the landscape below, with the White House to the north, the Jefferson Memorial to the south, the Capitol building to the east, and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

Within the Washington 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 10th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th, a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quotes 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 4, 1848, deposited within it were many items, including a Holy Bible presented by the (American) Bible Society. Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given to us by George Washington, a Founding Father and the first president of this unique republic, “One nation, under God.”

Furthermore, when one stops to observe the inscriptions found in and on the public buildings and monuments throughout our nation’s capital, he or she can easily find the signature of God. It is unmistakably inscribed most everywhere you look.

You may forget the height of the Washington Monument, or its location, or the names of its architects, but hopefully those who read this column will not forget those two words written on its tip, “Laus Deo,” or their meaning, “Praise be to God.” Just as important, remember these similar and applicable words that also apply: “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).

Our Founding Fathers designed and left us a great nation, the United States of America. They also left us a great legacy, “One Nation under God.” Laus Deo!

Respect and share this important American history lesson.

Ken and Nan Webster have collected inspiration for many years from many sources, and now inspire readers of “A Matter That Matters.” Contact them at kennanco@gmail.com or visit www.kennancompany.com.

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