I received a notice in the mail at my dorm room to report to the Selective Service office for a physical, at 6:00 in the morning in late February. I was in my last semester of college and would graduate in May. I went to the draft office a few days before and explained that I had classes that day–they didn’t care and told me to report as ordered.
On the date requested, I reported at 5:30 a.m. and it was snowing like crazy, about 25 degrees outside with a stiff wind. There was nowhere to stand and wait for the bus to arrive except out in the cold. At 8:00, people started leaving the site. I waited till 9:15 and left and went back to campus. I was frozen and couldn’t feel my fingers!
Several days later I received a letter stating that I was going to be arrested for not showing up for my physical. I went to the office and the ladies there didn’t care–the buses did finally arrive at 11:00 and I should have waited. I was told to report the next day at 6:00 to be taken to my physical and to bring personal items, because I would go straight to the army base for induction.
At the physical, they were taking everyone–people with steel plates in their legs, doctors’ letters, hardship letters. Fortunately for me, I failed the hearing test–four times! Because of that, I was able to finish my classes and go on to attend graduate school. I became a senior level manager at UPS where I worked until age 65. I had a wonderful career, was very well paid and retired as a millionaire.
My own story had a happy ending, but six of my high school classmates died in Vietnam and ten more men from my college class lost their lives there. I always felt there was a bullet in Vietnam with my name on it. I will never forget the sacrifices that tens of thousands made for our country. The lottery was a barbaric way to locate fodder for a war that we had no business in or even attempted to win. We have nothing to show for the lottery except a memorial with over 50,000 names on it. I have no idea of the number of men who were permanenty injured, became homeless, committed suicide and died horrible deaths from Agent Orange. I avoided the ultimate sacrifice, but I will never forget what No. 137 could have brought to me!