Built to honour the first president of the USA, George Washington, the 555-foot marble obelisk stands tall over Washington, D.C. The Washington Memorial Monument on the National Mall in Washington opened on October 9th, 1888.
The monument to America’s first president still holds the title of world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk. At its completion in 1884 it was the world’s tallest man-made structure at exactly 555 feet 5 1⁄8 inches, though just five years later the Eiffel Tower in Paris became the world's tallest. It remains the world’s tallest masonry structure.
Welsh Words on the Monument
As the George Washington memorial was being built, at a point nearly halfway up, there is a stone donated by the people of Wales. Its inscription reads; Fy Iaith, Fy Ngwlad, Fy Nghenedl. WALES. Cymry am byth. (My Language, My Country, My People. WALES. The Welsh Forever)
Welsh Influence in Early America
The Welsh were among the very first settlers to go to America. The first large group of immigrants were Quakers who colonised a large tract of land in Pennsylvania under William Penn, himself of Welsh extraction. It’s no exaggeration to say the Welsh helped build the foundations of a nation that has become the modern-day USA. Welsh steelworkers even built the steel roof structure of the White House! At least five of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh, or of recent Welsh descent, and there have been at least eight US Presidents with Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Celebration Days in Wales
Good Welshmen make Good Americans
The Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first American president, who once declared "good Welshman make good Americans".
Construction of the monument, made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss, began in 1848 and was completed in 1884. Weighing 81,120 tons, the Washington Monument stands 555' 5-1/8" tall. The walls of the monument range in thickness from 15 feet at the base to 18 inches at the upper shaft. They are composed primarily of marble blocks from Maryland with a few from Massachusetts, underlain by Maryland blue gneiss and Maine granite.
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