Q: What is the inscription on the east face of the Washington Monument?
A: According to the National Park Service, the Latin words “Laus Deo,” which translates to “Praise be to God,” are on the east face of the aluminum cap on top of the Washington Monument.
The monument honors and memorializes George Washington, whose “military and political leadership were indispensable to the founding of the United States.”
Washington was commander of the Continental Army and served as the nation’s first president. The geometric layout of Washington, D.C., originally designed by Pierre L’Enfant, reserved a prominent space for a monument to George Washington at the intersection of lines radiating south from the White House and west of the Capitol.
The monument, designed by Robert Mills and standing just over 555 feet, was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1884.
In 1833, the Washington National Monument Society, a private organization, formed to fund and build a monument to the first president that would be “unparalleled in the world.”
Despite difficulties raising funds, construction began in 1848. By 1854 the monument had reached a height of 156 feet above ground.
For more than two decades, the monument stood only partly finished. By a joint resolution passed on July 5, 1876, Congress assumed the duty of funding and building the Washington Monument. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for directing and completing the work.