Youth: Greeting

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The letter bore the nominal heading "The President of the United States." It was addressed to Gary William Wilson, and it arrived at the blue stucco house in Rosemead, Calif., two days before Christmas. Its terms were cold, its message unmistakable. "Greeting: You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States." Gary Wilson, 23, a bright, ordinarily even-tempered student then just six months away from a hard-won geology degree at California State College at Los Angeles, blew up. He crushed the letter into a ball,...

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