You may have seen or read some of the news coverage of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Hearing all the reminiscence of the Reagan White House era brought back memories of the 80s.
A backdrop to those carefree trust, but verify, military build-up, Star Wars missile shield days was the 800 pound gorilla – make that a Russian bear – in the room, the Cold War.
One landmark event during this time in history had nothing to do with the Gipper. I’m referring to a policy decision made by Reagan’s predecessor – President Jimmy Carter.
Not to get all History Channel, but it was Carter who reactivated the Selective Service Act, which required guys born after 1960 to put their names on the dotted line.
Imagine a Saturday to-do list back then:
- Get fitted for Sr. prom tux
- Prep for SAT
- Buy a bottle of Afro Sheen
- Drop by post office and register with the Selective Service
Registering with the Selective Service was not just a requirement of the legal and patriotic nature; if you wanted any chance of receiving Federal education dollars, you had better make sure you signed that form.
My father, for whom college was the only option for his son wasn’t too keen on the idea of bringing back the Selective Service, but the former staff sergeant who answered the call decades earlier certainly made sure I put my name on the list.
Back then, we weren’t thinking too much about getting drafted and going off to fight. Unlike the World Wars, Korea and Nam before, or today’s conflicts, this was the Cold War early 80s. We pretty much knew that any superpower intercontinental grudge match would likely end pretty quickly after each leader shot his respective nuclear wad.
Some 28 years later, I guess I’m still on the list – just in case the current or any future Commander-in-Chief decides to conscript a valiant force of seasoned mid 40s freedom fighters!