You’re part of my Dad’s generation. My Uncle Billy, my Mom’s brother, was the only one in the family who volunteered. My Dad didn’t want to go, either, but he was drafted after he finished his residency. Apparently, every medical school grad was supposed to be drafted. So my Dad had to go.
He was lucky, though. They gave him a choice of a year at some Army medical unit in Saigon or three years at Tripler Army Base in Hawaii. He chose the three in Hawaii. I was 3 years old at the time and lived on base. I remember thinking how cool it was getting to see Army helicopters all over the place, but I digress.
My Dad felt like you, like he didn’t really deserve to be thanked for his service when all he was doing was treating the soldiers who had been doing all the fighting in Vietnam. That may be how he feels, but I still consider him my greatest role model. With his medical degree, he could’ve easily immigrated to Canada, Spain or any other country to dodge the draft, but he didn’t. He told me about some other guys getting deferrments and doing what they could to beat the draft. I know it was a different time and a very unpopular war. So I can’t judge those who did dodge the draft, But I’m grateful to my Dad, you and others who served, regardless in what capacity that may have been.