Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

Deja Vu and the White House Too!

The offer came via an email that literally asked – “How would you like to tour the White House?”   On my first trip many decades ago, I along with a large group meandered through the home of the President and center of power in the United States of America.   And here in 2013, it happened again…


The White House - The PEOPLE'S

The White House
The PEOPLE’S House

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Posted 5 years, 1 month ago at 6:14 pm.

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Laus Deo







One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington, D.C. there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument.  With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time.  I was not aware of this amazing historical information, even though I’ve seen and touched this 6.6 pound aluminum cap when the monument was undergoing repairs in recent years.


Washington Monument with American FlagOn the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. , are displayed two words:

Laus Deo.

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.

Once you know Laus Deo’s history, you will want to share this with everyone you know. These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words.. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world.

So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply,
they say ” Praise be to God!”

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 twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo. “Praise be to God!”

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l’Enfant… a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.
A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice.

Praise be to God! 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 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God!

Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy “One Nation, Under God.”

I am awed by Washington’s prayer for America. Have you ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!

“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Laus Deo!

When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation’s capital, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of “Laus Deo “, its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: “Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127: 1)

It is hoped you will share this with every child you know; with 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. With that, be not ashamed, or afraid, but have pity on those who will never see this because someone failed to send it on.


Posted 6 years, 10 months ago at 2:13 pm.

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Honoring Our Veterans

Arlington National Cemetery - Caisson with Old Guard SoldiersThe last living WWI from the United States passed away in February 2011.  Since his passing marks the end of an era, efforts were made to allow him to lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.  Instead, the pleas of the people have gone unanswered and he will lie in honor in an obscure chapel, which most people don’t know even exists at Arlington National Cemetery’s Amphitheater.   In my opinion, not really fitting for “the last one”

As the grandson of someone who closed his newly established business after he “legally” emigrated from Poland to serve as a machine gunner in France during WW I,  I believe in my heart of hearts that we have forgotten the sacrifices of the millions who were involved in the War … and those that have followed.

The supposed current  leaders of the United States have forgotten the lesson from the Father of Our Country who said:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

– George Washington

Perhaps if those who are in power served in the military, they would understand the sacrifices made by those who serve and their families.

I personally consider each one of them irresponsible, uncaring and totally unpatriotic – I am proud to say that I’ve voted for none of them and given the opportunity, would not vote for them… ever.


Posted 6 years, 11 months ago at 8:30 pm.

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Happy Birthday George

George Washington

Just to remind you … today 22 FEBRUARY is his birthday… If it weren’t for him, this country would still be ruled by Great Britain…


Posted 7 years ago at 1:47 pm.

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Have we forgotten?

foldedcolorsThe principle was enunciated over 200 years ago by President & General George Washington:

“There is a rank due to the United States among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. . . . If we desire to secure peace . . . it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.”


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Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 1:01 am.


Commander of the Horse…

It was 230 years ago on October 15, 1779, that we lost a famous American Patriot who came from Poland to help fight for the United States of America’s freedom from British rule.

“I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.” – Casimir Pulaski  – in a letter to George Washington.

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Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 10:13 pm.

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226 Years Ago Today – First Purple Heart Awarded

Sgt. Eli Churchill of Enfield, Connecticut, was the FIRST AMERICAN awarded the “Badge of Military Merit” by the Continental Army’s General George Washington, on May 3rd 1783

The Badge would later evolve into the Purple Heart which is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after 05 APR 1917


Posted 8 years, 9 months ago at 8:25 am.

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Sharpening the Saw…

Since the beginning of 2009, it’s been one thing after another that has kept me running, trying to keep up with the events and happenings around me… I truly am blessed to have the opportunities that continue to open up for me. However, today’s the day to

Sharpen the saw…
Late in 2008, I joined Facebook to explore what that venue could do to extend my network of friends & contacts. In less than 100 days, I was able to build a network of 400 ‘friends’ on FB, and I thank all of you who allowed me to be part of your network. It allowed me to share with all of you the work I’ve continued to do in
“Preserving the memories, so others will remember…” (tm)

I had just put the finishing touches on what I’ve since learned is the FIRST regimental calendar of the most historic Infantry Regiment in the US Army – The Old Guard. I’m honored to have built and published this tribute to these fine soldiers who unlike other parts of the US Army have a dual role – that of ceremonial support and the defense of the Washington DC area. To preserve that valuable “collector’s edition” of the calendar, I’ve decided to remove the calendar – “The Old Guard on Parade – 2009” from “online” sales as of 31 MAR 2009.
On Facebook I created a page focused on my photography and continued to create additional products from the photographs in the calendar. In the online store there are several items that also include some of my selected works from my travels within the Washington DC area – USMC Museum near Quantico (an absolutely fantastic experience that you need to devote several hours – get there early and stay late..) – The Drum Point Light, one of the last “screw-pile” lighthouses from the nearly 50 that were built to guide the navigators in the Maryland waters.
More to come from the extensive archives of the tens of thousands of photographs that I’ve captured over the years…
I spent the day at Mount Vernon, home of our First President, George Washington.

I met him that day and offered to shake his hand. He declined suggesting that gentlemen don’t shake hands, they “bow” and he bowed graciously to me as he tended to the unfolding celebration in his honor. The troops that guard him and his corps of musicians were about to come into the celebration.
(I was surprised that he approached and used the microphone with little fear… )
The day continued with an excellent presentation of “The Commander-in-Chief’s” Guard – A unit that General Washington created to function as his personal guard unit. Now re-created by the US Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment – The Old Guard. Wearing the uniforms as prescribed by the General – Blue coats with red trim, white waistcoats, pants, and a black tricorn hat with a cockade.
Commander in Chief's Guard

Commander in Chief’s Guard

As they presented the various tactics employed in colonial times to fight and defend on the field of battle, they fired their “Brown Bess’ firelocks” with their bayonets fixed and defending against the attack of the horse mounted cavalry.

They used their 18″ long bayonets to defend in tactics that have been preserved by this elite unit of The Old Guard. Marching to commands that were used during those times to move the soldiers into position or pass in review. They were accompanied by a solo fifer and snare drummer. Later joined by The Old Guard’s Fife and Drum Corps, the field was filled with the musical fullness of the instruments of this talented group of musicians outfitted in uniforms also as prescribed by their General and Commander-in-Chief – Red coats with blue trim, white waistcoats and pants and the black tricorn hat with cockade.
It was a great treat to see and hear them as the CINC Guard left the field to defend Mount Vernon and surrounds. The drum major of the corps was brandishing his

Fife and Drum Corps  of the Old Guard

Fife and Drum Corps of the Old Guard

espontoon with flourish and giving commands to his troops as they marched and played with a precision unlike ever seen. This was hardly the first time that I had seen this unit of The Old Guard, but it was a special event as I thought how a similar display would have occurred on these very grounds over 200 years ago. And here in the year 2009, there was these soldiers dedicated to preserving the traditions upon which the United States was founded.

(the Trip to Aberdeen Proving Grounds & the US Army Ordnance Museum…)

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 9:55 am.

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State of the Union – 1790!

On this day, 8 JAN 1790, the Father of Our Country, George Washington delivered the first “State of the Union” message.

Just wonder what he’d say today…


Posted 9 years, 1 month ago at 9:15 am.

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