Never Forget: The Inscriptions of a Nation

[Note: I received this in an email from a friend and great American in Washington, DC today. As we head into the July 4 weekend during this difficult time for our country, it touched me, and I hope it touches you as well.]

INSCRIPTIONS OF A NATION

In 1994, my good friend Clint Ensign, Vice President of Sinclair Oil published a small book containing the inscriptions from the major memorials, historic buildings and structures in the nation’s capitol. He titled it: “Inscriptions of a Nation – Collected Quotations from Washington Monuments”.

It was the culmination of years of effort on his part as he compiled hundreds of quotations and inscriptions from the many memorials and monuments in Washington D.C. during his many trips to Washington on business.

Of the hundreds of buildings, memorials and statues, it is interesting to note that the Washington Monument has no inscriptions, nor does the White House. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial inscriptions are the names of the 58,000 individual men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.

It is easy to take for granted that these great buildings which are just part of my daily routine and landscape as I walk past them every day. Rarely do I stop to reflect on what they represent.

As I have reflected on the events of recent weeks, I took Clint’s book off the shelf last night and wanted to share a small but fitting sample of the inscriptions of our nation this July 4th.

CONSTITUTION HALL

“LET US RAISE A STANDARD TO WHICH THE WISE AND HONEST CAN REPAIR. THE EVENT IS IN THE HANDS OF GOD”
George Washington

“REMOVE NOT THE ANCIENT LANDMARK WHICH THY FATHERS HAVE SET”
Proverbs 22:28

Library of Congress

“THE GROUND OF LIBERTY IS TO BE GAINED BY INCHES. WE MUST BE CONTENTED TO SECURE WHAT WE CAN GET FROM TIME TO TIME AND ETERNALLY PRESS FORWARD FOR WHAT IS YET TO GET. IT TAKES TIME TO PERSUADE MEN TO DO EVEN WHAT IS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.”
Thomas Jefferson

“THE HAPPY UNION OF THESE STATES IS A WONDER, THEIR CONSTITUTION A MIRACLE; THEIR EXAMPLE THE HOPE OF LIBERTY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.”
James Madison

Supreme Court

“A CONSTITUTION IS FRAMED FOR AGES TO COME, AND IT IS DESIGNED TO APPROACH IMMORTALITY AS NEARLY AS HUMAN INSTITUTIONS CAN APPROACH IT, ITS COURSE CANNOT ALWAYS BE TRANQUIL.”
Cohens v. Virginia, 1821

United States Capitol

“THE GREATEST DANGERS TO LIBERTY LURK IN INSIDIOUS ENCROACHMENT BY MEN OF ZEAL, WELL-MEANING BUT WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING.”
Louis D. Brandeis

“LET US DEVELOP THE RESOURCES OF OUR LAND, CALL FORTH ITS POWERS, BUILD UP ITS INSTITUTIONS, PROMOTE ALL ITS GREAT INTERESTS AND SEE WHETHER WE ALSO IN OUR DAY AND GENERATION MAY NOT PERFORM SOMETHING WORTHY TO BE REMEMBERED.
Daniel Webster

“HERE SIR, THE PEOPLE GOVERN.”
Alexander Hamilton

 

World War II Memorial

THE WAR’S END
TODAY THE GUNS ARE SILENT. A GREAT TRAGEDY HAS ENDED. A GREAT VICTORY HAS BEEN WON. THE SKIES NO LONGER RAIN DEATH – THE SEAS BEAR ONLY COMMERCE – MEN EVERYWHERE WALK UPRIGHT IN THE SUNLIGHT. THE ENTIRE WORLD IS QUIETLY AT PEACE.

General Douglas MacArthur

Lincoln Memorial

“WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE, WITH CHARITY FOR ALL, WITH FIRMNESS IN THE RIGHT AS GOD GIVES US TO SEE THE RIGHT, LET US STRIVE TO FINISH THE WORK WE ARE IN, TO BIND UP THE NATION’S WOUNDS, TO CARE FOR HIM WHO SHALL HAVE BORNE THE BATTLE AND FOR HIS WIDOW AND HIS ORPHAN, TO DO ALL WHICH MAY ACHIEVE AND CHERISH A JUST AND LASTING PEACE AMONG OURSELVES AND WITH ALL NATIONS”

Arlington Cemetery

“WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN”
Abraham Lincoln

DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI
(IT IS SWEET AND FITTING TO DIE FOR ONE’S COUNTRY)
Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD
Tomb of the Unknowns

And finally:

Jefferson Memorial

“WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT. THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, THAT TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED AMONG MEN. WE…SOLEMNLY PUBLISH AND DECLARE, THAT THESE COLONIES ARE AND OF RIGHT OUGHT TO BE FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES…. AND FOR THE SUPPORT OF THIS DECLARATION, WITH A FIRM RELIANCE ON THE PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, WE MUTUALLY PLEDGE OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, AND OUR SACRED HONOUR.”

May you and your families have a safe Independence Day and may we remind our loved ones that it is a blessing and an honor to be a citizen of this great nation.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

5 thoughts on “Never Forget: The Inscriptions of a Nation

  1. Gregg - July 2, 2020

    Beautiful Dave, just beautiful. Thanks for posting.

    I wish I had taken more time to soak in all the monuments and sites when I lived there for three plus years.

    It should also be required for every congressperson federal judge and their staff and clerks to read learn and understand the meaning of all these great quotes and memorialized words. And make a yearly review mandatory.

    There is a salute to government service week held annually on the national mall with tents and awnings pitched which is basically a recruitment carnival for future bureaucrats for the federal government’s agencies and departments, so the time is already allocated. Let’s see an EO to the effect that all government employees review these words yearly, as is done with other general annual ‘training’.

  2. Winston Smith - July 2, 2020

    What a bonanza of quotes! Thank you. Copy and paste time.

    Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past… The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it.

    George Orwell, 1984

  3. Jimmy MacAfee - July 2, 2020

    The price of liberty is to never forget.

  4. Bob Strott - July 3, 2020

    On top of the Washington Monument, inscribed on the eastern face of its aluminum cap (in order to greet the rising sun), are the Latin words “Laus Deo” – which translate to “Praise God.” I’m a native Washingtonian & didn’t learn of this until last year, but it now makes my heart glad every time I think of it. Great article, thanks.

  5. Bob Strott - July 3, 2020

    On top of the Washington Monument, inscribed on the eastern face of its aluminum cap (so as to greet the rising sun), are the Latin words “Laus Deo” — which translate to “Praise God.” I’m a native Washingtonian & didn’t learn of this ’til last year; makes my heart glad to know. Great article, thank you!

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