Omega Mu Voice
John L. Collins,
John Collins, 1970
On the evening of Dec. 1, 1969, lottery draft numbers were drawn to establish the sequence of men to be drafted for the war in Vietnam.
Briefly, random birthdays were selected and the sequence in which they were picked established the sequence of draftees. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia that describes some of the process:
"The days of the year, including February 29, were represented by the numbers 1 through 366 written on slips of paper. The slips were placed in separate plastic capsules that were mixed in a shoebox and then dumped into a deep glass jar. Capsules were drawn from the jar one at a time."
The first number drawn was 258 (September 14), so all registrants with that birthday were assigned lottery number 1. The second number drawn corresponded to April 24, and so forth. All men of draft age, those born 1944 to 1950 who shared a birth date would be called to serve at once.
Pictures of the first number being selected, 258, September 14th.
The drawing of the numbers was televised, but we, being typical Omega Mu Fijis, forgot to turn on the TV in the library in time to catch the first 5-10 birthdays drawn. So, a bunch of us were watching the drawing together. If your number was drawn early, you were going to be drafted for sure, so these guys would immediately head down to Pat’s to drown their sorrows. If your number was somewhere in the middle (no-man’s-land) and you didn’t know whether you were going to be drafted or not, you headed down to Pat’s to drown your uncertainty. If your number came up over 200 or so, it was highly unlikely you would be drafted, so you immediately went to Pat’s to celebrate. If you were still sitting in front of the TV as the last few numbers were drawn, you didn’t know whether you were lucky or not. Remember, we had missed the first few birth- days drawn. As the last few numbers were drawn, the guys sitting in front of that TV knew they were either 1) really lucky to be way at the end of the list and not likely to be drafted, or 2) in the first 5-10 numbers drawn and would be the first to go. After the last number was drawn, a few guys were still sitting there. We all had a reason to be at Pat’s that night.
"If your number was drawn early, you were going to be drafted for sure, so these guys would immediately head down to Pat’s to drown their sorrows."
"If your number was somewhere in the middle (no-man’s-land) and you didn’t know whether you were going to be drafted or not, you headed down to Pat’s to drown
"We all had a reason to be at Pat's that night."
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82