Veteran spearheaded effort to teach patriotism in W.Va. schools
Editor’s note: This article is part of The Inter-Mountain’s Unsung Heroes series for 2018, which features veterans in our area sharing first-hand accounts of their military service.
BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon native, who spent nine years, six months and 22 days in the military, spearheaded the effort that would lead to the implementation of Americanism and patriotism into West Virginia Schools’ curriculum.
With a slight distaste for high school, Bob Post, now 83, had a desire to drop out of school, join the United States Army and fight in Korea.
“But my mother and dad had different thoughts,” he said. “I wasn’t old enough to make that decision on my own, so therefore they wouldn’t let me drop out of school and go to the Army.”
For Post, the next best thing was to join the National Guard, because as Post explained, at that particular time “they said the guard units were going to be called up to active duty and go to Korea.”
When Post joined in 1952 at the age of 17 the Buckhannon National Guard unit had not been called for active duty.
“However, in 1961 — I believe it was or there abouts — we had what was called the Berlin Crisis, and at that particular time our National Guard unit was called up to active duty,” Post explained.
During his time serving actively in the Army, Post’s title was tank commander.
“Part of my hearing I associated with the fact that when you went out and fired those 90 millimeter cannons, as a tank commander I was right on top of the tank and the sound of the percussion was just so bad it just beat your ears back,” he recalled. “I think that was part of what caused my hearing problems.”
Though Post and his unit never went overseas, the unit was primarily stationed at Fort George Meade in Maryland, and remained active for a little over a year.
Prior to being called up for active duty, Post worked at Central National Bank. After the Berlin Crisis conflict had resolved, Post then went back to work at the bank, where he worked for 40 years and 8 months.
Following his retirement in 1996, Post — along with members of the American Legion Frank Bartlett Post 7 — worked tirelessly to achieve the creation of a requirement that the West Virginia Board of Education mandate patriotism and Americanism into the state’s curriculum.
In 2008, which is around the time Post joined the American Legion, he drafted a resolution on patriotism urging that all students – kindergarten through 12th grade – be taught Americanism and patriotism. The resolution was only the beginning of Post’s efforts to have patriotism as a required subject in the curriculum of all public schools in the state.
“We had to send that resolution to all of the American Legion Posts in the state of West Virginia and get their approval,” he explained. “We had to send it to District 3 and get District 3’s approval – that one is the one we got approved then through the state convention for the state of West Virginia.”
In 2013, the state Board of Education directed that the teaching of patriotism and Americanism be placed into the school system.
“We weren’t satisfied with the way it was written and the fact that it was limited at that time to the sixth grade,” Post said.
By 2016, the state legislature directed that standards and objectives for social studies be adjusted for all grade levels in the state.
Regarding his time in the National Guard, Post said “there’s no doubt” that his military experience was a driving force to have patriotism and Americanism offered to public school students.
Other than his own military experience, Post credits his drive and pride of America to the men and women who joined together following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.
“America came together as a country to fight that war,” Post said, noting he was only 7 years old at the time. “All of our young men volunteered for active duty to go away and fight. It was so impressive.
“It just left an impression on me to see that people loved their country.”