The Vietnam War dominated my generation growing up. I knew a couple of young men who were drafted and went to war. I knew only vaguely one who was killed in the war. My older brother, Barry, joined the Air Force at this time. As I graduated from high school I was concerned about the draft. The government instituted a lottery system about this time, so I was anxious to learn what my number would be. The system drew lots based on birthday, so there were numbers from 1 to 365, with the lower numbers being first to go.
I was exploring my options, including signing up for the National Guard or Reserves. As I recall, I even took a test to start down that road. I don't recall the exact situation with college or missionary deferments, but they must have been in jeopardy for me to be so worried.
Well, my number was drawn, and it was 348! I felt so relieved and lucky. The deal was that you were only exposed to the draft for one year, so I went ahead and listed myself as 1-A and eligible for the draft, even at school and on my mission for that year, so I could get it out of the way. My year passed and I was scott free. It was about this time that the draft started slowing down, anyway. But the number 348 will always be emblazoned in my memory.