I was a senior at the University of Kansas. Oh, yes! I remember well the night of the first draft lottery in 1969. First of all, I was enjoying the company of a beautiful, young woman, Donna, to whom I later proposed and married. We decided to lay in bed and enjoy each other’s company that night. So we turned the radio on and waited for my birthday date to be announced. If my memory serves me correctly, it was a quite wonderful evening, even though the possibility of hearing an early number left an edge on the night.
Word of mouth had spread that the county of my residence, Johnson, would draft all men up to and including No. 130. When November 13, my brother’s birth date was called at No. 126, my heart sank. He was a fifth year senior and had gained another year’s education deferment. I calculated that he would be drafted now in the last semester of his last possible deferment year, spring 1970. I was right. Rather than going to the army, he made what later became known as "the Clinton Choice," to join the National Guard, in which he proudly served for the following six years.
As the 130th number was announced, and it wasn’t my birth date, my then girl friend and I literally whooped with joy. The rest of the announced birth dates, of which my own came at No. 232, were trumped heavily and effectively by the attention I was given by Donna. I will never forget that night!
I married Donna in 1970, we had three childrenn, and now have seven grand children. I often wonder if any of this would have been possible if my birth date had been called before No. 130. Some day, I want to shake the hand of Robert McNamara and thank him for that first draft lottery. [Ed. note: The highest number called for service in 1970 (from the 1969 lottery) was 195. Robert McNamara was no longer Secretary of Defense at the time of the lottery. Also, Bill Clinton never served in the National Guard. He had a high lottery number (311)].