My lottery number was 21. I had left Pa. looking for work and my draft notice followed me out to Chicago. The draft center there looked like it had been revived from WW I. As we walked in there were people outside yelling for us to burn our draft cards. Someone was yelling "Here come more baby killers". One idiot had a bucket of some kind of blood (later someone said it was pig blood) and with a big paint brush was splashing us. All I wanted to do was to get back to Pa. to say goodbye to my family, but they told me I was too close to Canada to trust me to go home. Finally, I signed a paper that I would report in Pa. and they would induct me from there. On the way back out were more people. Some were spitting at us then somebody hit somebody and I thought I’m not even a soldier yet, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to fight when when I’d be fighting soon enough.
There I was not old enough to drink or vote, but I was supposed to feel honored I was chosen to fight for reasons that are still eluding me. Now they run these ads that if you see a soldier to walk up and tell them thank you. No one ever said anything that resembled "Thank you" to me. At least over there a guy knew who their enemy was, but back here it was worse. The words and attitude of the blissfully ignorant hurt more than any bullet could and it seemed most everyone was your enemy. I just tried to forget everything about those times and days–I just wanted it behind me and get on with my life. Now when they ask vets to stand on patriotic holidays I remember what happened the last time I stood up.