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The people who know me best - family, friends, people I attend church with, members of my civic club, those involved with our bookcase project and hopefully, thousands of those who read this column - will tell you that I am a pretty simple and down-to-earth guy.

I do my best to be honest, to tell the truth, treat others with dignity and respect and I have a deep love for God and my country. Given these things, I am also grateful for the privilege of living in the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Our forefathers and those in the military, past and present, have paid the price for me to be free and have opportunities unlike three-fourths of the rest of the people in the world.

Without a doubt, we have a spiritual heritage and a reverence for God and His blessings, unlike any other nation on earth. A firm reliance upon God is where we derive our power.

God has truly blessed our nation and it baffles me to no end why we have people in America who are also blessed who want to remove God from every aspect of public life, to our ruin.

This is not to say that we don't have differences in forms of worship, because we do, but going all the way back to the very beginning of our nation we made sure that God was Sovereign and that we honored and reverenced Him in the very fabric of our national character.

In the event you do not believe this, allow me to share something a thoughtful reader sent me the other day.

It has to do with the Washington Monument and the simple words, "Laus Deo." Many people may not know that, by law, no building can ever be built in our nation's capital that is higher than the Washington Monument that stands at 555 feet.

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was president of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public.

It took 25 years to finally cap the memorial, and on one side of the cap was a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo, a Latin phrase meaning, "Praise Be to God"

No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there, and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.

But once you know the history, you may want to share them with everyone you know. Laus Deo - two seemingly insignificant words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningful placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. 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 the 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! When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4, 1848, deposited within it were many items, including the Holy Bible presented by the American Bible Society.

Please send this to every child you know: to every sister, brother, father, mother or friend. They will not find offense, because you have given them a lesson in history that they probably never learned in school.

In today's times it is fitting to end with these words from Psalm 127: 1 "Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."

Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project, visit www.bookcase

foreverychild.com. You won't go wrong helping a needy child.

 

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