Decatur Courthouse hangs 10 historical documents

Published 4:06 pm Sunday, September 15, 2013

There was a courthouse hanging in Decatur County Thursday morning and it did not take place in the gallows or even involve a rope.
Ten documents were hung on the walls of the courthouse that some consider to be controversial, but as of 2006 Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a house bill that allowed documents like the Ten Commandments, The Magna Carta and U.S. Constitution to hang in public buildings.
Decatur County became the 29 county in Georgia to hang the set of ten documents on Thursday and organizers of the hanging said they hope to see the documents be hung in Bainbridge City Hall and schools in the area.
Linda Perry, who with Decatur County and raised funds for the set of documents that were presented, said they show the foundation of American virtue.
“We have these documents that you have contributed to — there are no state funds involved in this,” Perry explained to those who came to see the documents in a corridor of the courthouse, which will soon be accompanied by special lighting. “It is individuals who care about our historical documents who made this possible. This is the only place in Decatur County where they are hung, but we hope soon they will be hung in City Hall, Bainbridge State College and also in schools in our area.”
The total cost of the documents were $1195 and the county hung them for free.
State Insurance Commissioner and former Bainbridge resident Ralph Hudgens and wife Suzanne were present in the courthouse along with a dozen Bainbridge residents to commemorate the arrival of the documents.
Hudgens said when the legislature originally passed the bill, they allowed the documents to only hang in legislative buildings like city halls. When Hudgens wanted to purchase a set of the documents to hang in the Georgia State Capitol, he had to jump through hoops to change the law to do so.
“The documents are hanging there now and that was a long drawn out fight,” Hudgens said. “But we finally got them there.”
His wife Suzanne serves on the board of Ten Commandments Georgia and is invested in bringing knowledge about the founding documents all around the state.
“This will pave the way for our communities to further educate our citizens,” Mrs. Hudgens said, walking those in attendance through each document and its importance in forming the U.S. legal system. “I have to tell you, myself included, we rather ignorant about a lot of our founding documents. I don’t know all of them, so we hope that school children and everyone in the community will read them and learn more.”
She said donors have committed to placing the documents in every school in Gwinnet County, and there are more than 200 schools.
The documents hung include the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, Lady Justice, the Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Star Spangled Banner, The National Mott — In God We Trust and the preamble to the Georgia Constitution.

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