I was an undergraduate at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, pursuing a degree in English and recently married. I had been opposed to the Vietnam War since 1965 and had participated in protests at KU. When I heard about the proposed lottery, I told my wife and my family that if I pulled a low number I would leave the US and emigrate to Canada rather than fight in an unjust and horrible war.

No one was happy with my decision. My wife was upset. My mother, a conservative Republican backer of the war, said she would disown me if I left the country. I knew it would derail my own life. I had financial aid to attend college. But I had no idea how I could even find work, let alone financial support for college, as a landed immigrant in Canada.

Nevertheless, I was determined to do it. I was opposed to the war and to the draft. Although the lottery seemed fair at the time in the sense that everyone was taking an equal chance, it also seemed like playing Russian roulette, a senseless and destructive thing to do. I hated the Johnson and Nixon administrations (and still do) for what they had done and were doing to the country, the young men of America and the people of all ages in Vietnam.

I was lucky. I pulled a high number. I graduated. Other men my age were not as lucky.