I was long conflicted about the Vietnam War. My father was a career naval officer and was actually stationed off the battle coast while I was going to Duke, class of 1970. At school I inevitably concluded that the Viet Cong were at least as legitimate a voice of the Vietnamese as the corrupt regime we were dying for and the US had no business being there.  The older brother of a good high school friend and neighbor enlisted as an infantry Lieutenant, shipped over immediately after training, and was killed within a week. It seemed like such a tragic waste.

In high school I had applied to Annapolis and been rejected for flat feet so I didn’t know what my draft status would be. In the spring of ’69 I withheld my deferment application in protest, along with the occupation of the administration building, the strike and other protests. Upon receiving notice of I-A status, I quickly applied for deferment and decided to take my chances with the lottery.

I did not want to go. On lottery night I waited and waited for my birthday to come up. I think I finally stopped listening and went to bed. Best luck I ever had but I often wonder what I would have done if drafted. Soon after graduation I served as a fireman in Arizona for several years as some sort of reconciliation.

I never vilified or scorned military personnel or vets and never witnessed that behavior. I wonder if over the years a few incidents have been exaggerated to unfairly characterize an entire generation. You never know.