Thursday, June 2, 2022

Looking Back

 This comment comes from Connie based on my recent "Memorial Day" post:

"Thank you for your service, and thank God you survived it.

At the time I entered college (1969), student deferments were in effect. So was my gender dysphoria deferred, through pure will power and suppression. When the government decided to drop the student deferments and institute a lottery, I became fearful of being drafted with a lottery number of 122. At
Photo Courtesy Connie
Malone

first, I thought I could go over to the ROTC building, register, and then complete my education. Talking with some vets in my dorm, though, I learned that doing so would make me a 
2nd lieutenant, and being one would put me in a higher casualty position than if I were just inducted as a private. OK, I thought to myself, maybe this would be a good time to come out (suppression doesn't work 24/7, but it adds an extra door or two to the closet your in). I figured that it would be the ace up my sleeve, anyway.

My number did come up, right at the end, but I was never "asked" to report for anything (and so was able to keep my suppression active). I don't know why I wasn't called, and I don't much care. For many years afterward, though, I wondered how many of those who had had my same lottery number never made it back home alive. It was a source of guilt for me, until I had a talk with my brother-in-law, who had been drafted, and then served in the infantry earlier in the war. He helped to relieve my guilt by letting me know how lucky I was to have missed out on the whole thing. Although relieved and happy to have made it back alive, he was haunted by things he had seen and had been forced to do. He passed away from cancer a few years ago, a cancer his doctor was sure had been caused by his earlier exposure to Agent Orange.

As I put the flag up for Memorial Day, I do so with a reverence and respect for all who have served and have died in protecting the rest of us. Even those who make it back alive surely have had something die within them, as a result of their experiences. My brother-in-law loved to barbeque, so I will add a little prayer for him when I fire up the grill later today."

Thanks for the comment. I was one of the few I knew who were able to make a potentially dangerous situation livable, I know regular reader Georgette was another. The fact remains though most were not so lucky. 


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