Open Thread 10/22/21 - The Draft
I woke up in 1968 when I was 14. I smoked my first weed. I grew my hair long. I became aware. I paid attention to politics for the first time. I saw older guys going off to war. Some didn't come back. I realized what was at stake. I knew what may be in store for me in just a few years. I became an activist.
Here's my original draft card from 1973 (redacted of course) back when my hair was still brown. I was also 3 inches shorter than I am now:
Notice my classification of 1A. That meant I was fit for duty.
Notice the date of classification. I was 19.
Notice the Random Sequence Number. When you turned 18 you received a Random Sequence Number. The number was selected at random by pulling ping pong balls from a large glass container. The lower the number the better the chance that you'd be drafted. My number was 018. I was sure to be drafted.
I turned 18 in 1972 and was supposed to report to the local Selective Service Board. I didn't do it. I didn't go. Nothing ever happened. They didn't come for me, I didn't receive anything in the mail. I was living in Memphis in 1972 and '73. I worked and paid into Social Security. Surely they could have easily found me but nothing ever became of it.
A lottery drawing – the first since 1942 – was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970; that is, for registrants born between January 1, 1944, and December 31, 1950. Re-institution of the lottery was a change from the “draft the oldest man first” method, which had been the determining method for deciding order of call.
There were 366 blue plastic capsules containing birth dates placed in a large glass container and drawn by hand to assign order-of-call numbers to all men within the 18-26 age range specified in Selective Service law.
With radio, film, and TV coverage, the capsules were drawn from the container, opened, and the dates inside posted in order. The first capsule – drawn by Congressman Alexander Pirnie (R-NY) of the House Armed Services Committee – contained the date September 14, so all men born on September 14 in any year between 1944 and 1950 were assigned lottery number 1. The drawing continued until all days of the year had been paired with sequence numbers.
Administrative processing number (APN) denotes the highest lottery numbers called for each table year. The APN (highest number) called for a physical was 215 for tables 1970 through 1976.
The last draft call was on December 7, 1972, and the authority to induct expired on June 30, 1973. The date of the last drawing for the lottery was on March 12, 1975. Registration with the Selective Service System was suspended on April 1, 1975, and registrant processing was suspended on January 27, 1976.
Bolding is mine.
I was awakened politically by the Vietnam War and the late '60s scene. Over 50 years later and I'm still at it.
Question: When/where/what/why did you become politically aware/active? Was there a definitive moment or did you slide into it gradually?
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