Washington Monument Dedicated

On this day in 1885, the Washington Monument is formally dedicated. It was, of course, built for military and political hero, America’s first president George Washington.

Appropriately, the cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848, and construction halted during the Civil War.

Then, on December 6th, 1884, a nine-inch pyramid of cast aluminum is placed atop the Washington Monument, and thus completed construction. That aluminum pyramid was the largest piece of aluminum in the world at the time it was cast.

Laus Deo

All four faces of the aluminum apex bear inscriptions in Snell Roundhand. Among them, on the east side, facing the rising sun is “Laus Deo,” which is Latin for Praise be to God. Although weather and and ill-placed lightning rod base have corroded the letters beyond legibility, the significance of the phrase endures.

Finally, in 1888 the monument opened to the public. This marble obelisk, at 555′ 5 1/8″ was the tallest structure in the world when completed. It remains today, by law, the tallest building in Washington, D.C.

A fitting monument indeed for the Father of Our Country.

Washington Monument Dedicated

MLK Washington Monument

On this day in 1969, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., then is sentenced to 99 years in prison. Interestingly, Ray was born on this day in 1928.

King’s legacy as a leader endures because of Who he followed. The following quotes exemplify the essence of his life and his message:

“Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

King’s King

Finally, King spoke these words as he concluded his last sermon, delivered the day before he was shot and killed:

“I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. … I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington D.C. Monument