High atop the Washington Monument

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument, are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles that comprise the District of Columbia. Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant words were very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two Latin words, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, &uot;Praise be to God!&uot;

Construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President but not completed until 1888 when the memorial cap was placed. From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure visitors can 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 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. Separation of church and state is not in the Constitution and no doubt Laus Deo was intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. &uot;Praise be to God!&uot;

Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. 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 the Bible Society presented many items including the Holy Bible. Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy…&uot;One Nation, Under God.&uot; Here’s your opportunity to read George Washington’s prayer for America.

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&uot;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.&uot; 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.&uot;

Laus Deo! Over 92 percent of Americans like the idea that our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase &uot;under God.&uot; It’s 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.

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.

Though many try to disprove and reason, their arguments are weak and easily proven without basis. Their efforts will forever be in vain; God assures us of that. Have you noticed as of late, how many more people are coming together, affirming the fact that this nation was, from the beginning, built on God? Any nation that is not built upon God will fail. Do you wonder why, when other nations fall into an abyss, does the United States continually prosper? Now you know, but do not let the arrogance of some instill doubt within you. The truth is we have always been one nation under God!

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at robert.pocklington@-suffolknewsherald.com.