Archive for Friday, February 3, 2012

40 years ago: Local youths respond to latest draft lottery

February 3, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Feb. 3, 1972:

Earlier this week, the federal government had drawn its fourth draft lottery of the year, "perhaps the last in the Vietnam war era that will actually draft men," according to a front-page article. For those readers who were not born or not yet old enough to worry about this in the early 1970s, here's how it worked: The lottery decided the sequence of those to be drafted in the next year, with each birthdate of the year being assigned a number. Only those with very low numbers were expected to be called this time, as the current draft authority was to expire in mid-1973, and President Nixon had pledged to achieve a zero draft by then, making another extension unnecessary.

Here is a description of how this year's draft lottery affected some local young men, as written by J-W staff writer Rita Rousseau. "Happiness is being No. 363 in this year's Selective Service lottery. So says Mike Glish, a Kansas University freshman from Overland Park, whose March 17, 1953, birthday virtually assures that he will never be called into the Army. Glish said a friend looked up the number for him Wednesday, and at first he thought the high number belonged to the friend. Then, when he found out it was his own, 'I just went nuts. I jumped up and down and almost kissed our housemother (at Pearson Scholarship Hall) and I offered to buy beer for everyone.' Next he telephoned home: 'My mother cried because she was so happy and my father said he'd put $10 in the bank so we could all celebrate.' So 'all the brave intrepid people trudged through the snow' that night to a local bar, Glish went on, and he bought pitchers of beer for everyone.... There was no celebrating for Bruce Bennett, whose Aug. 3 birth date made him an unlucky No. 3. 'It was sort of like getting hit with a lead balloon,' Bennett said today, dejection evident in his voice.... He found out as a fellow resident of Stephenson Hall, on the phone to the campus radio station, marked down numbers by the birth dates of all the anxious 18-year-old dormitory residents. By Bennett's name, 'The guy just nonchalantly wrote down 3. I was really surprised. I didn't believe it was mine at first.'


FlintlockRifle 6 years, 4 months ago

Miss Sarah, I sure miss your 100 year ago column, but the 40 year was nice. I can remember some of the local youths worrying about being called up. Liked the way Mike's father sent $10.00 so the lads could go out to celebrate, little change in amount of monies compaired to todays/

Sarah St. John 6 years, 4 months ago

Sorry Flint -- I accidentally left the 100 Years Ago "on hold" when I put it on the website. It should appear for you now... and I think you'll like it! :-)

OldGray 6 years, 4 months ago

Sarah —

You've done a great job with Old Home Town and I always read the whole package online. I hope they find more room to use more of the stuff and if the readers don't understand how the data backgrounds them as citizens of the community, they're making a big mistake. Bill Mayer

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