BROWSE STORIES

Larry, New York, 1969. No. 029: My Goose Was Cooked

I remember listening number by number that night and being surprised that no March birthdays had been called. Until No. 29 which was March 2. So I knew my goose was cooked and it was just a matter of time until I was over there.However, in late December 1970,...

Mark, Maryland, 1969. No. 246: Positively Euphoric

The night of the first lottery, when I was a freshman at Duke University, I was in the "Pep Band" at a Duke basketball game in Greensboro, NC.  The bus ride to the game (about an hour away) was interminable and deadly quiet, and we were all nervous wrecks during the...

Dennis, New Jersey, 1969. No. 080: Flying Fighters

College sophomore sitting around the TV drinking beer, watching the lottery.  Probably 20 fraternity brothers, all of us gathered around.  Cheers and hollers when our birthdays were called.  Other then real low numbers like my roommate, No. 26, most of us didn't know...

David, Tennessee, 1969. No. 001: Taking A Bow

It is early December and a group of us from Canterbury are in Greensboro for an early season Duke basketball game at the recently refurbished Greensboro Coliseum. We are sitting in the stands and the draft lottery begins.Transistor radios are in use but not real...

Joel, NC, 1969. No. 025: Life-Threatening Diagnosis

I remember the night we gathered around the Delta Sigma Phi Chapter Room in House S, eyes glued to the television. When No. 1 was chosen, the phone rang and a sad mother apologized to her unlucky son. As the night progressed, sighs could be heard, not only in the...

Jim, Pennsylvania, 1969. No. 187: Clattering Teletype

On the night of the draft lottery, I was working at the campus radio station at Duke University.  For all the men on campus, this was the news story of the decade.  As the birthdays and numbers came across the ancient, clattering teletype, the newsmen and women would...

Dan, California, 1971. No. 104: Lucky Stars

I joined Air Force ROTC as a freshman in college in 1967, at Duke. I liked airplanes and I was deathly fearful of getting drafted into the Army as a foot soldier. Duke was a fairly safe place to be in ROTC and having to wear a uniform one day per week, though during...

Peter, Florida, 1969. No. 005: $100 And A New Career

I was a student at Duke University when the first lottery was held.  Our dormitory had a pool for the lottery.  Approximately 100 guys in the dorm put $1 each into the pool.  The person whose birthday was drawn first in the lottery would win the pool of $100.  I "won"...

Chris, New York, 1969. No. 185: The Gamble

My memory is that it was late Thanksgiving Weekend in 1969, and I was up from North Carolina visiting with a friend at Harvard.  A bunch of us were sitting in the common room of his suite, and since we were all born between 1944 and 1950, we were intently listening to...

Tom, Texas, 1969. No. 038: MPs European Vacation

I think about that episode all the time, both for the arbitrary nature of who had to serve and for the way it affected my life.Like several of the other stories, I was also at that Duke basketball game in Greensboro. We had a guy a couple of rows up listening to his...

Mark, NC, 1969. No. 116: Dark Humor Was The Only Humor

I do recall the draft lottery. It is one of those things that stays with you, especially if your number was low. Mine was 116, too low to chance getting drafted in 1971 following graduation.The day of the lottery, I was in Greensboro watching a Duke basketball game....

Rusty, Maryland, 1969. No. 262: Free To Teach

I was in our house (which I rented along with six other students, all class of '71) at 1218 Broad Street the night that the Draft Lottery results were announced. At about 11 that night, I heard a couple of my fellow tenants coming through the door and talking...

Bob, Arizona, 1969. No. 213: A Role In My Future

The commons room of my dorm at Duke was as full as I'd ever seen.  All the excitement was early as the low numbers were called. My number, 213, was relatively high, but not high enough for me to relax. I'd heard from some friends that if you turned in your student...

Bill, Georgia, 1969. No. 012: Pressure Filled

I have vivid memories of that night. My college roommate and I had been studying and started watching the lottery when it had reached number 20. We watched until almost 300 and decided we were home free. We went out to celebrate and found out the next day I was number...

Tom, Maryland, 1969. No. 025: The New Reality

I did not watch the first half of the lottery, having had a bad (and accurate) premonition of how it would turn out for me. What I remember most about what I did watch was the smiling faces of the people my age as they participated in the process of selecting numbers...

John, North Carolina, 1969. No. 325: It Wasn't Your Fault

I was one of the few males in my immediate circle of friends at school that was not concerned about the first draft lottery in December 1969 due to the fact that I had already served my country in Vietnam. My college sophomore year was 1965-66. President Johnson was...

Gary, Virginia, 1969. No. 031: Looking For An Out

I was a junior at Duke, and we were driving back from the double overtime victory over Virginia Tech at Greensboro when we tuned into the middle of the lottery on the radio.  I recall hearing from about 150 until 365, and my birthday was not mentioned.  Finally, they...

Cliff, West Virginia, 1969. No. 168: Induction Refused

I arrived at Duke in 1970 to start graduate school. I had previously applied for conscientious objector draft status in my sophomore year of undergraduate school. My CO file was quite large as you were allowed to submit anything you thought was relevant. While at Duke...

Thomas, Massachusetts, 1969. No. 174: Measuring Down

I remember the night the 1969 draft lottery results were broadcast.  Several of my friends gathered at a friend's dorm room at Duke University to listen to the results (we were all juniors).  If my memory is correct, I did not hear my number until the list was...

Bob, SC, 1969. No. 237: The Chart

We were back in our fraternity dorm room at Duke after watching the TV broadcast of the draft, trying to understand the implications of our respective lottery numbers.  My roommate, Richard, was there - everyone called him The Chard.  A kid we didn't know stuck his...

Seth, New Jersey, 1969. No. 014: The Greater Generation

I was and am a conservative.  I was the Duke Chapter Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF).   I believed in the war and was ready to do my part.  My draft lottery was in 1969.  In 1970, I was selected by YAF to visit Vietnam for two weeks for a fact-finding...

Sim, New York, 1969. No. 102: What's Going On Here?

I recall riding on a bus to Raleigh with others for our physical exam--we were a number of white Duke students and many Durham residents of color. My mood on the trip to the physical was one of anxiety but basic trust--the system would be fair, of course, as it had...

Jeff, New York, 1969. No. 280: Might Does Not Make Right

What I remember most was my number: 280. It meant I was safe and would not get drafted. I knew a couple of guys who had low numbers and just walked around numb. We all knew we didn't want to go, but it would be years before I realized how much Vietnam changed so many...

Ted, Minnesota, 1969. No. 006: Common Bond

The first draft lottery, in December 1969, had a profound impact on my life. I still keep a reminder from that night: among my college memorabilia is a page from Newsweek magazine with the lottery results.I was out with friends early in the evening and didn't return...

Buzz, Washington, 1969. No. 343: On Thin Ice

I remember the lottery well. I was mid-way through my second year at Duke Law School. I was working in the law library at the time, and everyone was talking about the lottery, especially the first year students. The law school had already been decimated by the draft,...

Fred, North Carolina, 1969. No. 068: Not In Country

My case was unique, to say the least. My birthday, February 12, was No. 68 in the lottery. For once I had WON something!In the same month as the draft, I started experiencing moments of paralysis, which I simply wrote off as a back spasm, stress, pulled muscle, or...

Bob, South Carolina, 1969. No. 205: Bathroom Break

I remember the night of the lottery well. We all gathered in the common room of the fraternity house to see what numbers would be selected for our birthdays in the lottery. I got there a few minutes late and they had already picked the first ten numbers. I asked did...

Bob, NC, 1969. No. 156: You Bet Your Life

I was a student at Duke from 1966 to 1970--a very volatile period for everyone, but especially for males over the age of eighteen. Draft statuses were constantly changing, with the result that none of us who were classified II-S (student deferment) felt any security...

Phil, NC, 1969. No. 096: No Dodging

The night of the first lottery I was at a Duke-VPI basketball game in the Greensboro Coliseum. (Va. Tech was known as VPI in those days, as you may recall). A fellow sitting several rows below me had a transistor radio and was writing down dates and draft numbers as...

Jim, NC, 1969. No. 051: C.O. Status At The Library

I had a lottery number of 51, which helped me make my decision to pursue a conscientious objector status, which I was able to get. I ended up (after a false start) working at the Wake County Public Library, cataloging books.The biggest impact of all this was that it...

Philip, NC, 1969. No. 310: Felt Lucky

I don't remember much except joining my fraternity brothers in the commons area and watching the drawing on TV. I really had no plan for what I'd do if drafted; I admit I simply felt lucky. Having torn up my knee the previous summer, I knew I couldn't pass any...

Daniel, Ohio, 1968. Names On The Wall

I was a sophomore at Duke University in 1968, a turbulent time to be sure.  My roommate had just flunked out and soon enlisted in the navy in order to avoid being drafted in to the army.I did not support the war in VietNam as it seemed to be a senseless intervention...

Mark, Georgia, 1969. No. 74: Pivotal Moment

That December 1969 night when the first lottery numbers were drawn was a pivotal moment in my life and that of everyone in my class.  Before that the draft was a common enemy, but afterwards everyone's attitude depended on his lottery number. Knowing I would graduate...

Merritt, North Carolina, 1969. No. 256: Frightening But Fair

I sat in the parlor of a dormitory with a group of worried males, most of us with our girlfriends, in December, 1969, to hear the numbers read out on the radio.  Next to me was a guy whose birthday came up number 1.  He rose silently and walked away (in order, I...

Robert, Texas, 1969. No. 074: Moral Dilemma

I was a student at Duke Divinity School in 1969.  My lottery number was 74, a number that would have resulted in my being drafted except that my divinity school status provided me a ministerial deferment.  A fellow student made a convincing case that divinity students...

Barry, PA, 1969. No. 304: Highest Respect

Like many others, my father and uncles served in WW II. We grew up watching TV shows and movies that glorified military service, in which the good guys always won. A friend of mine and I had planned to join the Marines under the buddy system (actually false...

Michael, Connecticut, 1969. No. 100: Quarter-Century Delay

My lottery number was low, and I was disappointed that the draft would remain an issue for me.  I wasn't worried, however, because I was in a course of study that would lead to a teaching career.  If I could find a job, I would be eligible for an occupational...

Phil, SC, 1969. No. 151: Could Have Been An Architect

My number was 151 meaning that I was likely to be drafted upon graduation from Duke. I was a pre-med major (as were 50% of the males in my class) and the competition for grades was fierce and cut-throat, because medical schools were focused on your GPA as a great...

Fred, Florida, 1969. No. 320: Get Another Plan

I was attending the Duke-Virginia Tech basketball game on December 1, 1969 (in Greensboro, first game of the year) with two of my roommates, John N. and Ben P. Of the three of us, two had already committed to some form of military service. I had signed up for a...

Jim, NC, 1969. No. 019: No Color Blindness In The Jungle

With a student deferment about to end, and with the "War Boards" behind me, I was sweating out the lottery, nearly fainting when I got No. 19.  I presumed that would mean instant boot camp; but, I was married at the time and when I graduated, I taught school for a...

Mark, North Carolina, 1969. No. 340: You Never Know

I was long conflicted about the Vietnam War. My father was a career naval officer and was actually stationed off the battle coast while I was going to Duke, class of 1970. At school I inevitably concluded that the Viet Cong were at least as legitimate a voice of the...

Doug, New Jersey, 1969. Broken Radio On The Court

This was the first draft and a bunch of us had gone to Greensboro to see a Duke basketball game.  We took a large portable radio (they were all large back then) so we could listen to the results.  The drawing began during the freshman game (they had freshmen teams in...

Josh, Florida, 1969. No. 240: Nail-Biting For Everyone

I remember sitting around the television at the Theta Chi House at Duke.  Everyone was on edge.  What numbers would we have and what did they mean?  How far down the list would they go?  As far as we knew, they might get very far since the war was going hot and...

Gary, Colorado, 1969, No. 136: Yellow Footprints On Halloween

I was a freshman at the University of Colorado in 1963, when a close friend in the dorm flunked out at the end of the first semester. He joined the Marines and was killed in Viet Nam, all before I finished my freshman year. By the time I finished my Junior year in...

Louis, West Virginia, 1969. No. 174: Chinese Curse

I'm glad to see someone remembers the lottery. It was a big deal at the time, especially the first one in 1969.I was a 1st-year graduate student at Duke. The lottery was in December. Evenings I would be studying in a room I shared with 4-6 other physics students in...

Robert, Illinois, 1969. No. 235: Random Number Formula

I received my draft notice while I was a Sophomore at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Il.  I got a deferment for one year with a letter from the Dean of Students.  When my year ended, I was informed that I had to go without further discussion directly into...

Tim, North Carolina. Well-Educated Reserves

My story is perhaps a little different, as I was a USMC Reserve Recruiter for central NC 1965 thru 1967.  I enlisted in the Marines in 1963, pre-Vietnam, and re-enlisted in 1965 when Johnson extended all of us when he landed the Marines at Da Nang. I put in for Japan,...

Steve, Virginia, 1969. No. 005: Winning The Pool

The draft stories rang a bell for me. As Pi Kap social chairman in December 1969, I had the bright idea for us to put up $10 apiece to watch the lottery in the tube room. Half the money bought a keg of beer and the other half was designated for the low number. Who...

Dave, California, 1969. No. 028: Halftime Show

I had a student deferment at Duke University when the first draft lottery took place.  It was held at 8 pm the night of a Duke home basketball game.  The administration moved up the start of the game such that the lottery occurred during the half-time, and they played...

Steve, Maryland, 1970, No. 43: High Arches

Number 43!  THAT was terrible news.  And I was stunned.  What would I do?  At the time I was an anti-Vietnam War organizer, a protestor who had been jailed.  I had a strong commitment which since then, thankfully, has never wavered, even though I live in Washington,...