(Elvis's Jungle Room, Graceland, Memphis, 2004)I was just thinking about how attitudes toward military service have changed in my lifetime. In 1957, when he was drafted, Elvis Presley knew that he had to go. The country was still in that World War II mindset, and Elvis's fans would have turned against him as a "draft dodger." But In 1967, when the former Cassius Clay refused induction, he became even more of a folk hero than he already was.
Personally, I have no problem with the stance that Clay took. Our Vietnam commitment was wrongheaded, and Clay--now Muhammed Ali--resisted the draft openly and with a willingness to accept the consequences. I am merely holding him up as an example of how radically the mood of the country had changed in ten short years.
And now, we extol everyone who serves, in any capacity whatsoever, as a "hero," Go figure! --EFP