James Michener: I was a Quaker, and I was exempt from military service by government edict. And I was also 36 years old, so I was beyond the draft, but I fell into the hands of a tough draft board, and particularly, a specific member of it, the chairman, who did not like me very much, nor did I like him, and he hounded me into military service. I could have escaped it very easily. And everybody who heard about it thought it was outrageous. But I didn’t. I had taught about Hitler, and I had taught about the Japanese war machine, and I knew that this was a battle to the death, so I enlisted. Now I don’t want that to sound too important. I enlisted because I got a letter from President Roosevelt saying, “Greetings. Get into uniform or we will come get you.” And the day before, this draft board was going to send me to Fort Dix. I went down and cut a deal with the Navy. I said, “Look, I’ve been in the Mediterranean. I know ships.” My papers were very sleek. “You need me.” And they said, “Yes. We do need you.” And I was a Naval enlisted man that night and never regretted it. It was a vivid experience, a tremendous one. I think I saw the devastation of war. I saw the loneliness of that terrible Pacific duty. I had two complete tours out there. I saw a lot of the war and a lot of the aftermath of it. And wonder what might have happened had I stayed at home and not gone. I might never have become what I did become.