Linda Kulp Trout

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating Veterans Day!

Something that most people don't know about me is that I am a veteran. Forty-one years ago, I joined the Air Force. Our country was just ending its involvement in Vietnam. Joining the military was not popular at the time. Many people discouraged me from enlisting, but it turned out that joining the Air Force was one of the best decisions I ever made!

I grew up in a VERY small town.  Actually, there were only about sixty residents.  We had a small country store where we got our mail and some groceries.  My family struggled just to pay the rent and put food on the table.   Education was not a priority, and college was never an option. Life was about work, worry, and day-to-day survival.

I wanted a different life. So, when a recruiter came to my high school  to talk about the benefits of joining the military, it seemed like a good choice for me.

Here I am in my dress blues and fatigues.
The picture are pretty faded, but they were taken in 1974! In the bottom pic, I'm the short one  on the left.
The very next day, I walked from school to the recruitment office and took the written exam.  My highest scores were in communication so I was told that I could choose either journalism or communications as my specialty.  My first choice was journalism, but there was an eighteen month wait for an opening. Communications had an opening in just a few months. I wanted to get started before I changed my mind so I enlisted as a communications specialist.

Basic training was tough, but I was determined to stick with it. I loved being in the Air Force. I met people from all over the country, flew on air planes, visited big cities, and life felt like an adventure!
The only downside was that I worked a crazy schedule with long hours and had very few days off. When my son was born my priorities changed, and my husband and I decided not to reenlist.

I am very grateful for my time in the Air Force because it opened up many opportunities for me.  My VA benefits helped me to go to college, buy our first house, and provided medical benefits.  Most importantly, it was a pathway out of poverty. 

I'm proud of being a veteran, and I'm especially proud to have my poem "Dear Veteran" included in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS  compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. My inspiration for the poem didn't come from my own experience as much as it came from the men and women who risked their lives for our freedom.  Every year, as a community service project, my students write thank you notes to our veterans.  I wanted to do the same in the form of a poem. Veterans (along with the men and women currently serving) are our true heroes!

Veterans, this poem is for you! 
You fought
for our freedom. You kept our country safe.
Today we proudly honor you,
-Linda Kulp Trout, all rights reserved

The poem is a cinquain, but I couldn't get the format to work.   : )