Signers honored at event

James Hanby Sr. and Sydney Momot, 8, lay flowers to honor George Walton and Lyman Hall.

In 1848, Augusta remembered two of Georgia's three signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Walton and Lyman Hall, by reburying them here and erecting the Signers Monument.

In 2011, the signers seem all but forgotten, however.

James Hanby Sr. took family members to the monument Monday, hoping to revive an old Fourth of July ceremony that honors those who pledged "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" to found America. Three other people heeded his call and attended the ceremony.

Onlookers heard the history of Walton, Hall and fellow Declaration of Independence signer Button Gwinnett. The family left a bouquet of flowers and headed to Meadow Garden, the historic home of Walton.

Hanby, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, said he celebrates the signers every year and hopes to sponsor a larger event next year, one that includes Meadow Garden.

Hanby, who graduated from Hephzibah High School, said he was surprised even in high school, at how few people visit Meadow Garden.

"It's absolutely forgotten history," Hanby said. "Two of the guys from Georgia who signed the Declaration of Independence are buried right here. They certainly thought it was important in 1848 when they erected this monument. We have George Walton's home here. And yet it doesn't get any notice."

Gary Engen is a member of a veterans organization, The Military Order of the World Wars, which participated in a Fourth of July observance at Signers Monument years ago. He said he enjoyed Monday's ceremony and hopes the annual celebration will be brought back.

"I think we need to educate ourselves and our children on what is here," Engen said. "It's a sacrifice, I suppose, to things that might be more fun.

"But I think it's important to remind ourselves of sacrifices that our nation has made and pay respect for people like those buried here at the Signers Monument."