The Obama Paver Puzzle in Morris County

You would think that Democrats and particularly, supporters of Barack Obama, would be easy to find in New Jersey. After all, Obama won the state twice with almost 60 percent of the vote both times.
But that’s not necessarily true, at least in some cases.
Which brings us to the All Veterans Memorial, a splendid and innovative tribute to our nation’s veterans in Mount Olive Township, Morris County. Covering more than an acre, the AVM, as it is known, was voluntarily created by township resident Charlie Wood Uhrmann in the municipality’s Turkey Brook Park. It is a non-profit that relies solely on private donations. Some who have not visited may shrug and think, “We have a lot of memorials in New Jersey.”
Yes we do, but this one is quite different in its breadth and excellence. It includes far more than the standard commemorative monument to local soldiers killed in battle. There is an obelisk paying tribute to those Missing in Action. a freedom walk, and a special section devoted to “war dogs.”  A Civil War-era cannon stands guard above a time capsule.
An annual event at the AVM is a Memorial Day service that routinely draws prominent speakers, including Lt. General William Phillips, Lt. Col. Derrek Green, a NASA shuttle candidate, and General Gustave Perna. This year’s scheduled speaker is U.S. Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature is a Liberty Wall displaying all 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights and a Presidential Preamble stage. Every president in the area surrounding the wall is represented by a two-foot by two-foot paver sponsored by an individual or business. And that is what is now proving oddly problematic.
Each paver features a quote or accomplishment of the relevant president. Uhrmann has sponsored pavers for all American presidents, including Donald Trump, whose been in office for about 14 months.
But she has no sponsor for Obama, who was in office for eight years. Uhrmann is not a Democrat, nor a supporter of Obama. But to her credit, she realizes that as a former president, Obama deserves to be honored. Politics envelopes just about all of our life these days, but we should still draw the line when it comes to military veterans.
In hopes of getting someone to sponsor an Obama paver, Uhrmann says she talked to many Democrats she knows, and contacted local Democratic organizations in her town and county, but  to no avail. Neither Mount Olive nor Morris County are Democratic hotbeds. Still, it’s odd that local Democrats would not at least consider sponsoring a tribute to Obama. Full cost of the paver is $2,500, but discounts are possible.
When her local efforts failed to get results, Uhrmann wrote to John Currie, the chair of the state Democratic Committee. Here is a part of what she wrote:
“For the past six years, we have been trying to find a sponsor for President Barack Obama.  I have exhausted all my efforts to find a sponsor and now facing (a) deadline.  President Obama has earned his place at the AVM.  … This is why I am reaching out to you for your help and/or guidance.  The original cost of a sponsorship was $2,500.  However, we have reduced the price to $1,000,  our cost for the paver, the engraving, delivery and installation.”
She added, “I pray that you will consider helping us secure a sponsor for President Obama, as we have reached out to our local and county Democratic representatives with no (avail).  It is our duty to God and country to make sure every warrior and civil servant is duly represented,:”
Uhrmann said she talked to someone at the state Democratic committee when Currie and many others were on the annual Chamber of Commerce train trip to Washington. That was two weeks ago. The train has long since returned, but there has been no word from the state committee.
Money is not normally hard to come by in politics. And certainly not hard to come by for Democrats in New Jersey when they control all layers of state government.  Granted, this is one paver in one memorial in one town. But it’s also an opportunity for Democrats to make sure President Barack Obama is properly respected, and in a Republican area, no less. Their failure to do so is puzzling.
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