Until recently, school field trips to Washington, D.C. always included this 550 foot climb. One step after another, up, up, up. Even an energetic youngster would have sore legs when finally reaching the platform at the top of the 897th step. However, the exhilaration of gazing out of the small windows at the top of The Washington Monument would quickly make the painful climb worthwhile. From that vantage point, you can see Washington, D.C. , the surrounding suburbs of Maryland and Virginia and the Potomac River. The White House and the Capitol building looked like toys far below. You would be captured by the height and the unnerving swaying sensation frequently associated with tall buildings, but it’s the origin of this historic monument that brings the greatest sense of awe.
The Washington Monument was built to honor George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army who led America into victory over England in the Revolutionary War. He later became the first elected President of the United States by a unanimous vote.
This monument is a true obelisk (tall, four-sided, tapering structure), but it is also the world’s tallest stone building. Its construction began in 1848, but stopped when the building was less than one-third complete due mainly to a lack of funds and the many distractions of the Civil War. Even today you can see a shift in the color of the marble stone at about 150 feet where construction ceased for several years. The remaining two-thirds were finally completed after 36 years.
Engraved on the monument’s capstone is the Latin phrase Laus Deo, which means “Praise be to God.” The walls of the stairwell are lined with carved blocks with biblical expressions such as “Holiness to the Lord”, “The memory of the just is blessed” and “Search the Scriptures.” This incredible structure is a fine tribute to George Washington, his legacy and Christian values.
On August 23, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 occurred in neighboring Virginia rendering the monument unsafe for tourists. The Washington Monument along with the reflecting pool beneath still remain closed pending repair.
You can learn more about our national monuments in The American Patriot’s Bible.
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