After four years at the U of K (’65 to ’69) I needed one more hour to graduate. I could take that one hour anywhere, and still earn my degree from U of K (which I did). So I decided to take some classes at Murray Stata University, to try another campus. I had loved my U of K years, including serving as president of the student body, but was ready for a different experience.
I well remember sitting around a radio in a dorm room at MSU in December, 1969 listening to the lottery, and wondering if I’d missed my
number—it just did not come up until 363–February 21st! I had seriously considered going to OCS via the Marine Corps, following in the steps of a frat brother who had finished U of K two years before, and was then in Vietnam. At first all of his letters were Press On and Win, but gradually they reflected the politics of war, the horror of it, the doubt. With my No. 363 in hand, and a lessening interest in vengeance (I lost three friends there, including one U of K classmate who dropped out his freshman year and was killed soon after arriving in Vietnam), I decided not to go the military route.
I have always had some self-doubts about not serving. I became a social
worker for a year, and sort of felt that I gave back to my country that way.
My Dad was a Flying Tiger in World War II, but did not speak a lot about
his war experiences. I served as mayor of Hopkinsville all through the nineties until 1999, and developed many close relations with soldiers at
Fort Campbell. I have the highest regard for our soldiers, but as I near age 65 I question more and more most military actions, and see them most often as counter-productive in so many ways, and against the thrust of my Christian faith.