My lottery story is really not a lottery story at all, but one of irony and bad timing. My birthday came up No. 363, so it would seem that I was not going to be drafted. Technically, that is true. The technicality is that I had entered active duty in the US Army on October 1, 1969, just two months before the lottery.

I served two years as a combat engineer, and regret none of it. I was one of the very fortunate ones who, through the luck of the draw, did not go to Vietnam. The Army taught me discipline, teamwork, selflessness and humility. I am proud that I served my country, however modestly.

I lost a good friend, A Marine lieutenant; and a cousin, a Naval aviator, in Vietnam. They are with me always, in silent moments of reflection and solitude.