There are some numbers you never forget. One is your Vietnam era lottery number. You also don’t forget that first year of the draft lottery and listening to it on the radio. I wonder what the Nielsen number was.My memory is not necessary accurate 41 years later. My recollection of my number, 228, however, is accurate — I checked. As I recall it was a rainy night in Durham and every single male in the section (dorm) was crowded around a single radio. There was no cable and or even television, so we were just listening to the numbers and the birth dates. For the first 200 or so there was silence or cursing, thereafter there were sighs of relief. As I remember it the lottery number 6 was garbled and we could not hear the date. It later turned out to be one of my close friends. There was no celebration for him.
I dropped my II-S deferment on December 30th that first year and the numbers stopped about 20 or so before reaching mine. I escaped. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until much later in life when I heard of some I knew who lost their lives, or more who were injured in the war or suffered experiences most of us cannot imagine.