After seeing several television commercials during the past week advertising Paul Simon's Salt Lake concert, I see he and I have something in common - we were both born at the right time.
However, I think the reason Simon believes he was born at the right time differs from my reasoning. I am reminded of my reasons because of the events in the Persian Gulf and the good chance that war may break out some time this week.I'm reminded of the time period of my birth and its significance because I and thousands of Americans about my age have never been involved in a draft or had to worry about going to war.
The Vietnam War ended when I was in junior high school and the draft was eliminated shortly after. And when Selective Service registration was reinstated I was beyond the age limit of those required to register. I believe that my chances of becoming directly involved in a possibly impending war in the Persian Gulf are remote.
Even though I believe I was born at the right time, I am not necessarily proud of escaping a responsibility that millions have had to bear. Yes, I hate war, rarely support it and am glad that I never had to leave my family behind and risk my life for freedom. I cannot imagine leaving my wife and sons and putting my life in jeopardy. The thought makes me cringe.
Knowing how I would feel gives me that much more respect for those who have left their families to serve in the Persian Gulf. They are the ones who are putting their lives on the line for people like me.
They are over there so people like me can get up every day and go to work, earn money, spend that money on whatever we want and do whatever we want on our days off. Everything I do every day is a privilege I receive because somebody, at some time, was willing to fight for that right.
Sure, we moan and groan about the price of gasoline because we are being milked by the oil companies, but the only reason we feel cheated is because we have experienced better. And we have experienced better because somebody paved the way for us to experience better.
Many in the Persian Gulf may sacrifice their lives soon so our children can someday know the difference between good times and bad.
The only things people my age had to worry about in high school was what to do on Friday night, where to go to college and whether to go on a church mission. Today's teenagers may not have those choices.
If war does break out, experts predict 50 percent of those involved could die. If that happens, the chance of the draft going into effect is likely. Teenagers today, and their parents, have the threat of war looming over their heads.
Those who grew up during the same time period I did should be thankful for those serving in the Persian Gulf and be respectful of those who could be. Don't forget that those who could die for our rights are somebody's fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, sons and daughters.
Some suffer more than others for the rights shared by all. And even though it may not be us, it may someday be our children.
(Jim Rayburn, Springville, is a staff writer in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)