When the editors assigned me a We The People Community Project story on the Selective Service, it may have been an ageist thing. I may have been the only person available who was subject to the draft and remembers what that was like.
Born in 1953, I was part of a generation of young men for whom the draft hung overhead through high school. I knew students who planned to enlist right after graduation and others who had stories of how their brothers had beat the draft, including one who claimed a relative had been counseled to show up for his induction physical in women’s pink underwear. Unfortunately, I can’t remember if that actually worked or if the person doing the induction inspection just suggested a more flattering color.
I turned 18 and went to the draft board office to register shortly before graduating high school. Registering was the law, as was carrying your draft card. Proof of registration was a requirement for enrolling in college.
The nation had changed the draft from a system of deferments to a lottery in which each birthday was assigned a number for a possible induction.
The lottery for those born in 1952 was held that summer with inductions coming in 1972, and the next round was scheduled for the following February. I went off to college, where I was in a dorm with more than 50 fellow freshmen born the same year.