The Washington Post

The draft brought us together


I read Max Boot’s Feb. 21 Tuesday Opinion column, “What we gained — and lost — when we ended the draft 50 years ago,” with great interest and agree with Paul B. Weiss’s Feb. 28 letter, “The draft helped instill good citizenshi­p in Americans.”

However, I sincerely believe that both pieces missed one of the most important impacts of the draft. Whenever I am with fellow veterans and we are discussing our service, we always talk about the people we served with. It didn’t matter whether you had gone to Princeton or your formal education ended with a GED. After initial in-processing when everyone’s head was shaved and they were given ill-fitting clothes, there was very little to distinguis­h one person from another.

What soon became especially obvious was that your race or prejudices did not matter; you had to work together to accomplish whatever was the task. Because of this, men realized that those with whom you served, for the most part, were good people on whom you could and, in some circumstan­ces, had to rely on. I have spoken with many veterans who have told me that their preconceiv­ed notions and attitudes going into the service were changed once they got to know their fellow servicemen.

The country is worse off because it ended the draft.

George Bohlinger, Washington

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