Patriotism and Americanism
By Bob Post
BUCKHANNON — As most of you know, our local American Legion Post #7 was responsible for getting Patriotism and Americanism taught in grades k-12 throughout all public schools in West Virginia.
We began this project in 2008. We wrote our resolution, and had it approved by attorney Terry Reed and Judge Thomas Keadle. Our resolution was approved unanimously by our local post. The resolution was sent to all 106 American Legion Posts in West Virginia, asking their approval. Ninety percent of the American Legion Posts returned our request, and all were approved. We then presented our resolution to our District #3 for approval and it was again approved unanimously. Next, we presented the resolution to our WV State Convention in July 2010, where it was also approved unanimously. The Frank B. Bartlett post #0007 of Buckhannon was given full authority from the state to follow through to its completion.
We met with State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine, Executive Assistant Betty Jordan and Deputy Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. Dr. Paine was very enthusiastic about patriotism and displeased with the lack of it in our schools. He believed it would be possible to introduce such a unit of instruction without going through the legislature for its approval, but rather by going directly through the WV Board of Education.
On October 18, 2010, we received a letter from Dr. Paine's office indicating he and his staff had been working to develop a sample Patriotism unit for middle school studies. Their goal was to have a first draft ready for review in early December 2010. Mr. Joey Wiseman, Coordinator for Social Studies Education, was to contact us about the details.
It appeared at this point that legislative action would not be necessary.
We met again on December 15, 2010 at the WV Board of Education room for the purpose of briefing us on results up to that point. Mr. Wiseman informed us that the class had already been implemented at the eighth-grade level through a computer-directed "Tech Steps" activity. Intentions were good, but it became evident that Mr. Wiseman didn't really have a handle on what we were requesting in our resolution.
What had been accomplished to this point was strictly on an optional basis for 'extra credits'. It also became evident at this point that the Department of Education either could not or would not mandate the class.
At this point, the American Legion Post #0007 went back to the Board of Education to emphasize our request that a class on Patriotism be taught in the curriculum k-12 in all schools in the state of West Virginia. After reviewing our request, Mr. Wiseman agreed and a class on Patriotism from k-12 was mandated to start with the school year 2013. This was approved by the state Board of Education.
Now, I don't know if you realize just how big of an accomplishment this is, but let me inform you. The following National Adjutant’s message describing our great accomplishment appeared in the January 2019 issue of The American Legion “Dispatch”.
WV American Legion post gets Patriotism taught in public schools statewide
By The American Legion
What started out as an American Legion post resolution is now implemented in schools across the state of West Virginia as a required subject – Patriotism and Americanism.
“Veterans and wars have been overlooked in our educational system … it’s important that this history not be overlooked,” said Bob Post, commander of Frank B. Bartlett Post 7 in Buckhannon, W.Va. “The goal of doing this was to teach the love of country to our youth. You can’t have Patriotism and Americanism without the love of God and country.”
Post 7 wrote the resolution in 2008 requesting the West Virginia legislature pass legislation requiring the state Board of Education to mandate that a class on Patriotism be taught in all West Virginia secondary schools, grades K-12.
“We felt that if we could get this in to our school system, every student in our school system would understand how our country became the greatest country in the world,” Post said.
The resolution was passed during the Department of West Virginia’s convention in 2010. And starting with the 2013-2014 school year, it was put into effect.
Post said Legion membership didn’t have to go through the state legislature; instead, he met several times with the State Board of Education and the school superintendent at the time “liked what he heard.”
Changes were made to the social studies class throughout the state in all public schools grades K-12 to incorporate patriotism education. What is mandated for teaching depends on the age of the students. Examples include recognition of Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Flag Day and Patriot’s Day; reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance; singing patriotic songs; creating art that demonstrates patriotism; participating in community service project and parades; and how to show respect to the U.S. flag.
Just this past school year, it was mandated that at some point during grades 9-12, public school students in West Virginia must take the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service. The results of the test may be reported in the aggregate to the county Board of Education for evaluation.
“One of the most significant accomplishments of Post 7 was spearheading to get Patriotism and Americanism as a required subject in the curriculum of our West Virginia Secondary School System,” Post said. “We hope as an organization that The American Legion Frank B. Bartlett Post 7 helps exemplify what Patriotism, Americanism and love of country is all about. Everything we do is for these causes.
“It is our hope that this can spread to other states throughout the country.”
Patriotism and Americanism
By Bob Post
I think it important to first note that the American Legion is the largest organization in the United States and the largest veteran's organization in the world.
As you read the above article, just remember that the Frank B. Bartlett Post #0007 of Buckhannon, WV is who it was written about.
In the last line of the article, I am quoted as saying, "It is our hope that this can spread to other states throughout the country." This is happening now. The State of Oklahoma, through the Frank H. Collings Post #111 of Edmond, Oklahoma is well on its way to getting Patriotism and Americanism in their school curriculum. It is my understanding that the states of Texas, Virginia and North Carolina are also in the early stages of completing this important project for the school systems.
Post #0007 wrote the resolution in 2008, requesting the West Virginia Legislature to pass legislation requiring the WV State Board of Education to mandate that a class on Patriotism be taught in all West Virginia schools, grade K-12.
I personally have spoken to the Mid Florida Lakes American Legion Post #330 in Leesburg, Florida. I suggested that they work with the Lady Lake Post that was once the largest American Legion Post in our country, to get this important project done for the State of Florida.
My point being, American Legion Posts all over the Country and World have now seen what a small American Legion Post in Buckhannon, WV has accomplished in getting Patriotism and Americanism in our school system throughout the State of West Virginia.
Each time I close a speech I give on this important subject, I reinforce the "purpose" to others:
The main purpose in having Patriotism and Americanism taught in grades K-12 here in West Virginia is because shortly thereafter, you will be voting citizens in our Country. An act of Patriotism and Americanism is utilizing your right to vote.
We hope and pray that after 12 years of being taught the content and standards and objectives of Patriotism and Americanism, this important history and information will be engrained in your thinking so when you vote, you will be voting truly for what and who you believe is best to lead our Communities, Counties, States and Nation.
Remember the order of your thinking should be:
(1) GOD (2) COUNTRY (3) FAMILY
That's the order it had to be for our great country to be founded and it hasn't changed.
The brave men and women, living and dead, who have served our Country from its beginning had to set these priorities. The #2 priority Country had to put Patriotism and Americanism foremost. The #3 priority, their families, were the reason they were fighting.
I hope for all who read this information, that it makes you think and it inspires you to work for Patriotism and Americanism and to look at our political world in our country today.
I hope that we can get our Country's thinking back to where it should be: "GOD", "COUNTRY" AND "FAMILY".
Robert R. Post
Past Post Commander Of Frank B. Bartlett Post#0007