The top of the monument contains excerpts from Exodus 20:2-17 of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the Ten Commandments, chiseled into the tablets.
The left tablet reads:
I AM THE LORD THY GOD.
THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.
THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE.
THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THEY GOD IN VAIN.
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY.
The right tablet reads:
HONOUR THEY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.
THOU SHALT NOT KILL.
THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS.
THOU SHALT NOT COVET.
The following quotations are excerpted from various historical documents and authorities.
Front (North) side
"Laws of nature and of nature's God" --Declaration of Independence
"The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth" --George Mason [Taken from arguments submitted by George Mason in Robin v. Hardaway , 2 Va. Reports (Jeff.) 108, 114 (Va. 1772)]
"The transcendent law of nature and of nature's God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed" --James Madison [Taken from The Federalist No. 43, at 295]
"This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; ... upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these" --William Blackstone [Taken from Volume I of The Commentaries of the Law of England , "Of the Rights of Persons," at 41 (1765)]
Right (West) side
"In God We Trust" --National Motto
"We, the people of the state of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God, do ordain and establish the following constitution and form of government for the state of Alabama" --Constitution of Alabama
"O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand between their lov'd home and the war's desolation! Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto - "in God is our trust," and the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave" --National Anthem
Back (South) side
"So help me God" --Judiciary Act of 1789
"Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in the courts of justice?" --George Washington [Taken from Washington's Farewell Address of 1796]
"The greater part of evidence will always consist of the testimony of witnesses - this testimony is given under those solemn obligations which an appeal to the God of truth impose; and if oaths should cease to be held sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights would become insecure" --John Jay [Taken from John Jay's charge to the grand jury of the circuit court for the district of Vermont on June 25, 1772, at 284]
Left (East) side
"One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" --Pledge of Allegiance 1954
"The inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our government upon the moral directions of the creator" --Legislative History [Taken from the House Report of legislation adopting the Pledge of Allegiance, at 2340]
"Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine" --James Wilson [Taken from Volume I of The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, at 104-05 (Bird Wilson ed. 1804)]
"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of god? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" --Thomas Jefferson [Taken from Notes on the State of Virginia, at 169]
1720 Valley View Drive