It is the year 1961. President Kennedy has decided to send U.S. troops into South Vietnam to help the fight against Communism. The Vietcong-- the North Vietnamese Communist army-- was attempting an assassination attempt and Communist takeover, and Kennedy decided it would be best to stop it before it spread to greater lands. As the years progressed, the war effort began lacking more and more. Diem, the leader of South Vietnam was assassinated, and weeks later Kennedy was assassinated as well. In December of 1969, Nixon initiated the first war draft since 1942. The lottery was held at the Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and consisted of the drawing of blue capsules containing birth dates. If a person's birthday was drawn and they were between the ages of 18-26, they were drafted. For those who had the same birthday, there was an elaborate alphabetical system deciding the order of choice by last name. It is in this way that many American young men were sent packing from their homes to the deadly battlefield that was Vietnam.
"Background Note: Vietnam." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 5 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4130.htm
"Battlefield: Timeline." PBS. PBS. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/timeline/index.html
"Selective Service System: History and Records." Www.sss.gov. Selective Service System, 2009. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.sss.gov/lotter1.htm