Statue to honor Tom Paine--Only 4th in US

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On June 12, the Common Sense Society of Fort Lee met and elected a slate of officers. Their goal is to erect a statue of Tom Paine in Fort Lee’s Monument Park. They have commissioned sculptor David Frech of New York to create the statue. It will be only the sixth statue of Tom in the world and the fourth in America. For many years, Fort Lee has celebrated the American retreat from Fort Lee in 1776 and the withdrawal across New Jersey as a "retreat to victory." They point to the near miraculous reversal of the war’s momentum with the triumphs at Trenton and Princeton – and maintain that not a little of this determination to rescue the situation came from Tom Paine’s visit to the retreating army. The ragged soldiers inspired him to write his essay, The Crisis, which begins: "These are the the times that try men’s souls." Tom Fleming has played in active role in encouraging this statue. Fort Lee has already asked him to speak at the unveiling in November 2008. "Paine became a controversial figure later in his life. But what he accomplished in 1776 is beyond controversy. He deserves a monument and I can’t think of a better place to build one." Those interested in helping to pay for the statue can send donations to Fort Lee Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 309 Main Street, Fort Lee NJ 07024. Att: Tom Meyers. A check for $100 will make you a "winter soldier" on their donors list.

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