We have been to Washington, D.C. twice. It is an interesting city and it would be even more so if the crime rate was not so high -- in Congress and on the streets.
The interesting aspect of the city is that no building can be erected taller than the Washington Monument which is 555 feet tall or about 55 stories. No building is even close to that height.
With all of the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments and other religious symbols from public buildings it is worth a moment or two of your time to review this historical information.
On the aluminum cap atop the monument are displayed two words -- Laus Deo. No one can see these words. Most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there. We went up in the monument and I don't remember it being mentioned.
Laus Deo. Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. Very simply, they say "Praise be to God."
Construction began on the giant obelisk in 1848 when James Polk was president and it was completed and opened to the public in 1888. It took 25 years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo -- Praise be to God.
Visitors to the top of the magnificent granite and marble structure are provided a beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments in the form of a cross. A cross. Isn't that interesting? Why a cross? What about the separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of the church and state was not, is not, in the constitution. This plan intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice.
Praise be to God. Within the 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 he 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. Praise be to God.
The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848 and several items were deposited in it including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God. Such was the discipline, the moral direction and the spiritual mood given by the founder and the first president of our unique democracy. "One nation, under God."
When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capital, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere. You may forget the width and height of "Laus Deo", its location or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: "Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." Psalm 127:1.
Happy Thanksgiving. Laus Deo.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.