Saying No to Selective Service
Some men who did not wish to fight in Vietnam for moral or religious reasons returned their draft cards to their local Selective Service Boards. Jack B. Leonard, who was studying at Loyola University’s Bellarmine School of Theology, was a conscientious objector who refused to participate in the draft based on his religious beliefs.
The Department of Justice was unsure whether to prosecute Americans who refused to participate in the draft. Leonard’s letter became part of a series of communications between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Selective Service on the subject of prosecuting conscientious objectors. Of the estimated 500,000 Americans who resisted the draft, around 200,000 were formally charged for violating draft laws and faced prison time. President Jimmy Carter pardoned all “draft dodgers” in 1977.
“Remembering Vietnam” opens November 10! Find out more here.