Sarasota News Leader

05/23/2014

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find Lift Station 87 complete and operating with remarkable efficiency. Because that is not the case, we urge patience, as frustrating as that can be. If, as we fear, the city taxpayers will end up footing most of the bill for an extraordinarily expensive proj- ect to prevent future sewage spills, the last thing the engineers need now is pressure that will produce haste. By the time Lift Station 87 goes on line, it had best be such a marvel of technology that it will be touted nationwide as the design to be copied in other communi- ties with the storm and water table challenges we face. % COMMENTARY THE LAST DRAFTEE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor It was a nervous evening, Dec. 1, 1969. The United States was about to hold its first draft lottery. All over the nation, draft-eligible young men, their families and friends were clustered around radios or televisions. It was a bingo-like event, with two balls being drawn from two cages. Inside one ball was a birthdate; inside the other, a number. And with every draw, breaths were held coast-to- coast. Will this be the number? I was in the middle of it, and I ended up in the middle of it. My number was 175, slightly over the halfway point. My best high school friends all "scored" much higher than I. We all knew the stakes. I had been to one Silver Star funeral; it was for a fellow class clown, a Marine who fell on a grenade to save his mates. It was a closed-casket service. After all the dates were read, we young men still knew little. A low number meant service was a certainty. A draft number of 300 looked safe. The Vietnam War was winding down. President Richard Nixon's "secret plan" to end the war was actually a "secret plan" to get out of it. And Nixon, in the 1968 campaign, promised to end the draft and replace it with a "volun- teer" army. I watched with anxiety as the draft claimed higher and higher numbers in 1970. By early summer, it was clear 175 was not high enough. ONE GENERATION EARLIER You have no say in when you are born. My dad's luck was awful. He grew up hardscrab- ble in southern Illinois, enjoying a childhood during the Roaring Twenties — though there was not much "roaring" around that dirt farm except maybe when a bull got loose. He entered his teens as the economy collapsed OPINION Sarasota News Leader May 23, 2014 Page 99

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