1969-1970 was my senior year in college. I remember watching the first draft lottery on the TV that some guys had across the hall from my room in Old East dormitory; the same TV had informed us of the events at Kent State only weeks before. The lottery was held on my birthday, and December 1 was matched with a relatively low number in the draft. Dispirited, I was nonetheless resolved to follow through with the application for conscientious objector status I had picked up at my local draft board while home for Thanksgiving. Experiences in college had changed my thinking from the joking we used to do in high school about the inevitability of meeting each other in Hanoi, to a personal commitment not to be a part of the war effort. As it was for thousands of others, my experience with the draft was a defining moment, moving my thinking to words and then to action, and shaping my outlook on life. A draft physical at the beginning of the summer quickly followed graduation while I was working at a summer job in a factory. In early August, before the draft board took any further action, I drove across the country to enroll in a graduate school for the fall quarter. Ironically, a National Defense Title IV Fellowship made it possible for me to begin graduate studies in Classics. Shortly after the fall quarter began, I was summoned by the Selective Service to appear at a local board in New Jersey for a hearing on my petition for conscientious objector status. Granted a change of venue, I went to a downtown Seattle office building where I submitted my statements and supporting letters and answered questions posed by members of a draft board. One of my professors drove me and stood by at the meeting as my witness. Several weeks later the New Jersey board notified me that I was re-classified to I-O and needed to follow the enclosed instructions for starting two years of civilian alternative service. My request to defer the start of alternative service until the end of four quarters of school was granted, allowing me to finish the requirements for my MA degree in August, 1971.
So then I began my years of civilian work back in North Carolina working at Guilford College. The Selective Service considered Quaker colleges to be peace organizations, and approved such employment as alternative service. For about a year I worked in the campus print shop, delivered mail to the various academic departments, and taught intermediate Latin for the fall semester. Anxious to return to the Pacific Northwest, I took a short-term job rebuilding hiking trails in the Washington Cascades before beginning work as an orderly at Harborview Medical Center, a teaching hospital run by the University of Washington. I continued orderly work rotating through different departments of the hospital until I completed the two-year work requirement, and received my release from CO responsibilities. Resuming graduate studies seemed at the time too far removed from the patient care of hospital work. I received an offer to teach and coach in an independent school, moved east, and embarked on what has been a 35-year teaching career at the middle school and secondary school levels. Teaching has fulfilled my need to provide peaceful service to others.