Teaching Respect for Old Glory


by John C. Westervelt


     Bob Marks, a long-time member of Asbury, is the National Americanism Officer in the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  Bob and other members of the Tulsa chapter visit classrooms all across the Tulsa area teaching children the proper etiquette for the American flag.

     The chapter recently placed three thousand 18” by 24” pictures of George Washington in classrooms.  The members teach a class about George Washington, so the children will not lose track of their heritage.  The Military Order of the Purple Heart sponsors an annual patriotic high school essay contest.

     The Purple Heart recipients provide encouragement to lonely veterans by sending them Christmas cards.  The Tulsa chapter recently purchased six glider rockers for the Claremore Veteran’s Hospital.

     You may be wondering, “How did Bob become a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart?”  Bob grew up on a farm in Arkansas during the Great Depression with three brothers.  During World War II, Bob’s father and mother would hover around their direct current radio listening to the war news, for they had two sons in the Army in the thick of battle in Europe.  (For you young readers, more than half of rural America did not have electricity until after WW II.)

     In the Battle of the Bulge, Bob was fighting with the 75th Infantry Division when he was wounded, hence a Purple Heart.  He ended up in a hospital in Wales for three months.  After victory in Europe, Bob was sent back to the 75th Infantry Division to help with the army’s management of a refugee camp for Poles who had lost their homes to wartime bombing.

     Bob was back home in time to begin college at the University of Arkansas in 1946.  Just short of graduation in 1950, he was called up by the Army to go to Korea, where he was wounded once again, hence his second Purple Heart.

     Bob came home, completed his college degree, and began a thirty-two year career teaching math.  Bob’s first wife, Ruth, died at the age of fifty-one of leukemia.  His son Robert was a junior at OSU.  The attractive Spanish teacher down the hall at Skelly junior high school was a widow with two daughters.  Laura was thirteen and Julie was seventeen when their father died.  With their grieving years behind them, Bob and Pat began dating and soon were married.

Bob and Pat had each been married for twenty-one years to their first spouses and have now been married for twenty-one years to each other.  They enjoy six grandchildren, all under age thirteen.  Included in the group are three-year-old, twin boys.

     When you see Bob in the halls of Asbury, ask him about his grandchildren, and then say, “Thanks, Bob, for serving our country in war and in peace.”


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