Sunday, April 26, 2009


Dad in Coast Guard uniform with Sisters Elsie and Ruth in front of Whitsitt Ave house, early WWII. Navy would not accept him becasue he was son of a German immagrant.

Deanna and I were married on Dec 20, 1969. I was in my senior year of College. Viet Nam was raging and my draft number was 53. (birthdate determined your draft number, 1-365, 19 year olds first). I won that lottery draw in December 1970, a few days before our 1st Anniversary. This was at the height of the war. I was to report for induction on January 2. I got the news at the start of Christmas break from Seminary. I was not anti war and draft dodging was out of the question, it was just really inconvenient to leave at that point in my life. Combat was not an issue. As the sole surviving son of a 100% disabled American Vet. I could request a non combat post and they would have to give it to me. (a saving Private Ryan sort of thing). I called the seminary office and explained the situation. They were not sure what could be done over the holidays, but they would try. If they could not secure a temporary student deferment, I was heading into the army and with my degree, likely officers training options. Jobs being so scarce, it was not the worst thing in the world. Cancer or any fatal disease or accident would clearly be worse. This took a definite second place on my worst list. It was NO WHERE on my best list. I opted not to tell anyone over the holidays until I knew what was going to happen for sure. That was risky. I might be telling my new bride good bye for two years with a very short notice. I opted to wait until after Christmas, about 10 days away. Christmas came and went and no word. I began to try to figure out how I was going to tell Dee but could not think of how to open the conversation. Not telling her when the draft letter came a couple weeks earlier seemed like such a good idea at the time. The pitfalls of that plan were becoming more apparent with each passing hour. I was pretty much resolved that I would be heading into the Army when I was uninvited to the party. The seminary office somehow secured a temporary student deferment for me. I don’t recall if they ever defined temporary, but I never called to ask. The war and draft ended without another word from them. As I said, I was not Anti war. I understood then and understand now why we fought there. It is NOT what the revisionist tell you it was, but that’s a different story. Many of my friends volunteered to go and went. Some were wounded, some died, none came back the same. A lot of the trouble with the soldiers in that very unpopular was so many young men were drafted to go. They didn’t really want to be there in the first place. Today, NO ONE is drafted and the attitude of our soldiers is far superior. They volunteered for whatever their individual reasons were. I for one am proud of them. I was proud of those Viet Nam soldiers too. I’m just glad I was not one of them. This all comes to mind as I was thinking about how we introduce people to Christ. Sometimes it seems like we are trying to draft them more than we are inviting them to Join up. I wonder if there is not a substantial number of people in the Christian ranks that were really drafted. They heard a good sales pitch that included forgiveness and excluded hell, all for song and a prayer. Little, if anything was said of a lifestyle relationship or fellowship with God. That would help explain the poor performance of the average Christian soldier. I wonder what we could do about this? the shack study guide, the shack discussion guide


heidi jo said...

your story captivated ne and your connection to the Christian life even more... touching. as the wife of a vet it is a blessing to hear others with attitudes of gratitude for those who serve. i find myself even more grateful for those who serve in any danger capacity - like the David's of the world too.

what do you think we can do about the Christian soldiers? the first thing that comes to mind is to live it ourselves - live loved and share loved... follow THE Way... and to pray.

Doni Brinkman said...

Very well put Dad. I know I did my share of some "drafting" and have lived to regret that.