I entered the University of Georgia as a freshman in the fall of
1967.  I was 17 years old when I walked into my first ROTC class. 
Sgt. Lunsford strode in and declared, "Firepower is bullets hitting
people!"  That’s all I remember from ROTC that quarter, except that I made
an A.  Six weeks later, I turned 18 and got my first draft card: 2-S
(college student).  I finished my 2 years of compulsory ROTC
and applied for conscientious objector status.  My local draft board
(Ware County) immediately reclassified me 1-A.  I was available for
military service.

That fall, the Selective Service conducted its first lottery.  My
number was 241.  I had one friend who drew 2 and another who drew
363.  My friend who drew 363 had been an outspoken critic of the
war.  After the lottery, he never opened his mouth again.  Mr. 2

In January 1970, I got married.  My wife’s father was a career Navy
officer and a veteran of WWII (having fought as a marine private on Iwo
Jima).  I called my local draft board at the end of the month, and they
had gotten up to 30.  I called again at the end of February, and they had
gotten up to 60.  I called each month and learned that my draft board had
gone another 30 or so numbers into the pool.  In July, they stopped
telling me where they were.  I considered enlisting.  I also
considered going to Canada.  My wife and I fought; she informed me that I
would get mighty lonesome in Canada by myself.  The summer came and went,
and by fall, we were expecting.  I stayed and sweated it out.  Our
firstborn came in February 1971, by which time, another crop of 19 year olds
had entered the lottery.  My number was effectively raised by 365.  I
was safe.

The experience left its mark on my marriage (we’re still together after 44
years), on my educational aspirations (I stayed and earned a Ph.D.), and my
view of politicians.  I believe we have the best armed forces in the
world, and I respect the men and women who wear our country’s uniform.  My
younger daughter is an Iraq-era widow, and the Army has been wonderful to
her.  I continue to suspect flag-waving politicians who use our young
men and women as pawns for their own personal gain.  I believe now, as I
believed 45 years ago, that if the politicians were the first to be called up,
things would be a lot different.