The Memory Palace

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Episode 94:
Numbers

Published
Aug 26, 2016

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera

The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Note
* Here’s a link to watch an excerpt of the CBS news break.
* One of my favorite things I came across while reading up on the lottery was this site, which includes a remarkable page where folks send in their personal stories of their draft experience.

Music
* Elevator Song by Keaton Henson (feat. Ren Ford)
* Waves by Abby Gundersen

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10 Comments | Leave a Comment

10 Comments on Numbers

  1. Linda says:

    A memory I had completely forgotten. I tensed and squirmed just listening to your eloquent voice recount that event.
    I was in college at that time. Six friends, three young men and three young women, we ate together in the dorm, hung out together more often than we split off as couples. The night of the lottery the guys didn’t want any of the women in the room while they watched the television. We women didn’t intrude. I can remember not being able to study that evening. My thoughts kept drifting off, worried about what might become of our friends. It was the next morning at breakfast when we all gathered in the cafeteria when we heard the results. Listening to your account I am deeply grateful for you for documenting this piece of American history.

  2. Jillian says:

    Moving.
    My father was drafted, I wonder how he felt this day.

  3. bashe says:

    How could I possibly have not known this occurred? I’m 57 years old, I’ve heard the words “Draft Lottery” in connection with the Vietnam War as long as I’ve known about the war itself, and yet, I always thought it was metaphor! Who knew that there was an actual, NATIONALLY TELEVISED Draft Lottery! Unless I’m an exception, I find it fascinating that somehow the actual moment could somehow not be as iconic as “low lottery number” or “high lottery number” became—that seems fantastically odd to me.

  4. hardboiledbaby says:

    A shining jewel of an episode in a podcast already replete with gems. Thank you, Nate.

  5. Brandon says:

    Amazing work Nate. #freebrady

  6. Joshua says:

    My favorite episode so far! Wonderfully written and delivered. Definitely captured the moment.

  7. Sam Diener says:

    I love this podcast as a whole, but I think this episode was under-baked. Often, you focus in on an individual and tell their story to evoke the story. There are some excellent oral histories of the draft during this time period that could have helped tell this story and people’s differing reactions to it. I do love your trademark empathetic guessing at what people were going through. You also left out some of the choices available to people (4F, 1-0 or 1-A-0 conscientious objection to name two) with high lottery numbers. You omitted the work by the peace movement to make draft counseling centers available to those facing horrible choices, and the sense of community that often built up. You omitted the resistance to the draft, and to the lottery, that helped end the war. And, worst of all, you entirely left out the consequences of this lottery, this draft, this war, on the people of Southeast Asia.

  8. Norm Halbert says:

    The nightmare of that night came back to me as I listen, yes I remember. I was in collage, scared of not keeping my grades up. Reading everything about running off to Canada. My life wasn’t my own, my parents didn’t offer any suggestions, they were like deer in the headlights. “312” I was in the last 3rd. I could inhale again, I could make plans for my future, I was back in control. Now at 66 years old I’m thinking not so much of those buddies who died over there but those who came back damaged and have never had the chance to control their lives again.

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  10. Zellie says:

    Dang you, Nate! I don’t think any other single human being has made me cry more tears. And yet, I can’t stop listening D-: