PHILADELPHIA—Today’s youth, burdened by debt and a stagnant economy, rank behind older generations on most measures of advancement, including their applicability on the battlefield. Now the agency responsible for maintaining the nation’s list of military-eligible men is looking to their great-grandfathers to fill the void.
The Selective Service System recently sent out thousands of draft registration notices to Pennsylvania men born between 1893-1897, warning them of the consequences of failing to register. The youngest of these recipients would now be 117 years old.
“Turn up your hearing aids and listen to the call of your nation!” exclaims the letter. “We need every ancient-bodied male to pick up the slack from his great-grandchildren and declare his willingness to fight for those Americans who can’t quite seem to land a steady job.”
The letter is co-signed by Fred Thompson, the former senator and compensated endorser for most services advertised in AARP The Magazine.
“Old people are our future,” said William Remington, a spokesperson for the Selective Service. “Unlike Gen Y, they’ve been tested in the World Wars—the real ones, not World War Z.”
Millennials have been called the new “lost generation,” a term previously applied to the survivors of the First World War.
Registering for the draft has become a rite of passage for 18-year-old males in the United States, even after the country moved to an all-volunteer force. Now it looks as if the new lost generation won’t even pass that milestone.
If millennials want to “improve their station in life and give back, they’re better off playing the state lotto than trying their luck in the draft lottery,” says Remington. “At least the lotto benefits the older adults who will end up doing their dirty work.”
Remington, 68, admitted that the idea to register centenarians initially came about by accident. “Call it a senior moment,” he offered.
The error was traced back to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which forwarded the contact information for men born between ’93 and ’97 to the SSS, while failing to select the appropriate century.
“To be honest with you,” said Remington, “I normally get my grandkids to help me navigate the computer database, but this time they were busy playing ‘Call of Duty.’ ”