Today in 2018 I found out why I did not go to Vietnam in 1972. I entered Colorado College in 1970 amid the controversy over the war. The lottery had begun in 1969 and I knew I would get a number. I knew student deferments were toast. On August 5,1971, I pulled number 22. It was traumatic, especially as I was unsure wether I supported the war. I knew I would be called with a number that low. I received a letter ordering me to Denver for a physical. Before I left Denver they called me “inductee.” I expected a letter any day calling me up. I never got that letter.
My whole life I have believed they lost my paperwork or that some other equally improbable happenstance saved me. I have always been very emotional about the soldiers that served in Vietnam, essentially in my place. I don’t blame the warrior for the war. What I found today with an online search is a paragraph in Public Law 92-129 signed by President Nixon on September 28, 1971. It said that college students in good standing during the academic year 1970-1971 were to retain their student deferment just as if student deferments had not been eliminated. It’s all become clear, although it doesn’t change anything for the folks with their names etched in black marble.[Ed. note: The change in the law phasing out undergraduate college student deferments took effect prospectively, such that it applied to students first entering college in the fall of 1971]