I remember when the lottery was first announced, and hearing the results. My brother and I both got high numbers – mine was 273, his was 324. There was also a pool in our dorm at UNC, and the ‘winner’ – the guy with the lowest number – won the pot. The winner had #1 or #2. He wound up being drafted and going to Viet Nam. Luckily, he returned home, went to med school, and is practicing medicine in Tennessee. My brother joined up in 1973, but never went to Viet Nam. I tried to join the Navy in 1971, but was 4-Fd out because of poor vision.
Most of my friends had numbers high enough to keep them out of the draft. We hear stories about people like Dan Quayle and George Bush, whose rich and influential parents kept them from being drafted by arranging pie units in the Indiana or TX National Guard, never to see actual action. Al Gore, on the other hand, went to Viet Nam voluntarily. What a difference politics makes in war.
The main effect the draft had on me was it was the beginning of my trying to become a peace supporter. I’m not good enough to call myself a pacifist. I believe if the draft were reinstituted, the current illegal war in Iraq would be over in six months or less.
I lost some good friends from high school in Viet Nam, and probably some university friends, but I don’t hear about them. It was a very sad time for our country, and now we’re at it again.