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For a whole generation, one war defined life at home and in Vietnam

By Anne Marie Starowitz

There are many moments in my life when I will see something that triggers a memory. It can be a memory of joy, sadness, or just comfort. You never know when it might happen, but it will transport you back to that time.

This particular day, I noticed the Black POW-MIA Flag flying in front of the new Court House.  I was brought back to 1970 in my college cafeteria listening to a student from the University of Buffalo.  She was standing on a table addressing the issues of a war that would affect all of us.  New vocabulary words were created, such as containment of Communism, draft lottery, and protests. For example, this is the definition of the draft lottery found online today. "A lottery drawing – the first since 1942 – was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during the calendar year 1970 for registrants born between January 1, 1944, and December 31, 1950."  

Young men were anxiously positioned in front of the television set to see where their birth date would be drawn in the lottery. To this day, Baby Boomers can recall their number. Unfortunately, the flag also states, "You Are Not Forgotten," but when they returned home, they were.  There were no parades, no large gatherings at airports other than their families and close friends. 

Please understand that my father was a WW II Veteran, my uncle fought in the Korean War, and many of my students fought in Afghanistan.  I highlighted this war because it was my war. This article is dedicated to ALL of our courageous veterans.

"Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." -- Unknown

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