“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12).
Recently, I was sent the following article, and found it full of hope and encouragement, when slightly revised. I trust you will too.
On the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington, DC are two words: “Laus Deo.” No one can see these words, but they are there, perched atop the great monument dedicated to the father of our nation.
The Washington Monument is 55 feet wide at the base and 555 feet tall, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America. It is made of 36,000 stones of marble (from Maryland) and granite (from Maine) and weighs 90,000 tons. The monument draws about 800,000 visitors a year. The people stand under the words, Laus Deo!
Two unnoticed words, out of sight, but very meaningful, were placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the world. And what might those two words, “Laus Deo”, mean? Very simply, they mean, “Praise be to God”.
Construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848 when James Polk was President of the United States. Due to lack of funding, it was not until 1888 that the monument was finally inaugurated and opened to the public. Despite the delay, the cap to the memorial was placed with the spiritual tribute of “Laus Deo”, “Praise be to God”.
Near the top of 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. From that vantage point one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant who laid out a perfect cross 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. “How interesting!”
No doubt, the deliberate design was intended to carry a message for those who bother to notice. It was a message of joy and thanksgiving. “Praise be to God!”
Another interesting feature of the Washington Monument is the interior iron stairway with 50 landings, and 897 stone steps. These donated stones come from every state in the Union, as well as Native American nations, and foreign countries.
Though the stairwell has been closed since the 1970s, visitors can gain access to the top observation area via elevator.
If one were to climb the steps, and pause on the various landings to meditate, the memorial stones would have something to say. For example, on the 12th Landing, a prayer is offered by the City of Baltimore. On the 20th Landing is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians. On the 24th Landing, there is a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6.
“The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot” (Prov. 10:7).
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
“Praise be to God!”
When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on 4th of July 1848, deposited within were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. “Praise be to God!” Such was the discipline, the moral direction, the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy as, “one nation, under God.”
“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 legitimate 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.”