By Hayley Kappes
Killeen Daily Herald
The American Dream takes different shapes for those who pursue it.
For Jamaican national Angela Manigault, the dream took her a world away and landed her in the service of Uncle Sam.
"It was a shock at first," Manigault said. "Everyone was so tall, they smoked, they talked funny. I had envisioned golden roads in America."
Her mother moved to Wisconsin when Manigault was a child and it took 16 years for her and her siblings to follow.
Although Manigault has fond memories of her native land, her family suffered impoverished conditions there and came to America for a better life.
The retired sergeant joined the Army in 1977, fresh from high school, where she became a medic. She now works as a nursing assistant at Darnall Army Medical Center on Fort Hood.
She recently published a book entitled "Poems from the Heart," a collection of work inspired by her time with the Army.
Manigault discovered her love of poetry after pursuing it as a hobby, writing poems for friends. She would mat and frame them as gifts, never with the thought that someday she would write a book.
"I write to encourage people. I write so that people enjoy it," Manigault said. "If it makes someone's day, I've gotten my reward."
Her poem "American Soldier," is dedicated to the families who have lost loved ones while serving in the military.
Manigault wrote "Soldier's Dream" when she was stationed in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm in 1992.
The poem details the reason why people go off to war and fight. Manigault said she joined the Army to ensure her children had the same freedoms and privileges she found in America.
Someday she wants to go back to Jamaica and help the people of her home country, but said there are people in Killeen who need help first. She also wants to start a scholarship for underprivileged children.
"You've got people who are suffering," she said. "I can't take care of every soldier suffering, but if I just help one, that makes a difference. America has been a blessing to me. This has been a way of giving back."
Contact Hayley Kappes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559.
If you go
What: Angela Manigault book signing
Where: Clear Creek Main Exchange on Fort Hood
When: noon Sunday
Angela Manigault's book "Poems from the Heart" can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Author House and Border's. It can also be purchased at the Clear Creek Main Exchange or ordered from local Hasting's retailers.
For information, call 532-7200.