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September 23, 2008

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Ron

Darryle: I just got a chance to re-read your posting of "A Military
Mother-in-Law". And it rekindled some very vivid memories for me: As
you recall, there was a palpable pall over every college campus the
evening of the draft lottery held on December 1st, 1969. For myself, I
was fearful that I would draw a low number because I was so violently
opposed to the war. So I did what I thought was appropriate. No, I did
not go to Canada, though I seriously thought about it. I took the more
cowardly approach: I smoked a joint and went to sleep. I woke up the
next morning, picked up the campus newspaper (The Daily Beacon @ UT
Knoxville which I will discuss a little later), crossed my fingers and
toes, and started at #1. A few very stressful minutes later, I found my
birth date, April 25th, #351. I truly felt that I had won the lottery,
cause I DID! I immediately called my draft board and asked what drawing
#351 meant. And, in almost a direct quote that I will never, ever
forget, I was told that if Russia and Red China declared war the next
day, I would be called in the second year. On that date and from that
day on, I had every assurance that I would never be ordered by my
country to fight in any war, especially in a war that I so violently
oppposed (which I will also discuss later). And, finally my point: I
sympathize with your plight of having loved ones who, although perhaps
not in total support of our country's reasons for being at war, are
serving faithfully and dutifully, and are putting their lives and their
families' futures in jeopardy because they feel it is their duty to
provide security for their fellow Americans.

Now for that "later discussion" I referred to above when mentioning the
college that I attended, the University of Tennessee. Not exactly what
most people think of as a hotbed of intellectual activity, especially
liberal political protest. Well, I am proud to report that I was a part
of history in that I was a participant in the protest of Billy Graham's
inviting Richard Nixon to campus to speak at his Crusade on May 28th
1970. Once again, I feel I
would like to thank you for re-awakening my humane sensibilities and
being the catalyst for doing some soul-searching about my core beliefs
and principles.

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