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Life in the United States: Civil Rights, the Vietnam War and the Draft

Vietnam War - Len Sirois

Time 0:02:22


I had just graduated from university—1965. I wasn’t home two weeks. This would be in May because school used to end in the end of April there. I was home two weeks and I got a letter from the government saying to report to Portland, Maine for your draft physical. They sort of got to give you a rating, whether you’re A-1, or A-2, or 4-F. 4-F means hit the road, they don’t want you. So I went for my physical and I knew then—I had flat feet, still do, always did—born with them. I had flat feet and a hearing problem. I wear a hearing aid now, but I didn’t then. And I was lucky. I think I was lucky. I went down on the bus and there must have been forty guys on the bus and I think I was the only one that got classified 4-F. Because of my hearing, I guess. And if you had flat feet, that used to somehow do you in too, because apparently a lot of guys would complain about back problems, you know, carrying your backpacks and all that stuff, then it would end up costing the government money to—medical. So I had two things going for me. So I got 4-F, so that cleared that up. I used to be accused of being a draft dodger (laughs) when they’d joke around up there or whatever. And, I’m being honest when I say I don’t know if I would have been one. I did not agree. I was a hundred percent against the Vietnam War. History has proved that, that was probably okay. But, you know, whether I would have draft dodged or not, I don’t really know. Thank God I didn’t have to make that choice. But I certainly didn’t agree with—I saw no value at all of sending young boys over there to lose their lives for—

Oral History 14.05.09LS with Len Sirois
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21