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January 1, 1980

Four students formed the Vassar Draft Opposition (VDO) in opposition to a possible restoration of the draft, to which President Carter alluded in his State of the Union address. Co-founder of VDO Matthew Miller ’83 said, “There has never been a registration without a draft and there has never been a draft without a war.” The group and other members of the Hudson Valley Draft Oposition (HVDO) picketed the Army Recruiting Center on Main Street and laid a wreath at the Soldiers’ Memorial Fountain in downtown Poughkeepsie a month later, on February 29th.

Speaking to Congress on January 23 about the recent Soviet invasion of Afganistan, Carter said, “I believe that our volunteer forces are adequate for current defense needs, and I hope that it will not become necessary to impose a draft. However, we must be prepared for that possibility. For this reason, I have determined that the Selective Service System must now be revitalized. I will send legislation and budget proposals to the Congress next month so that we can begin registration and then meet future mobilization needs rapidly if they arise.”

New York Times, The Miscellany News

The Years