P.J., 72

“I was born in Baltimore, March, 1945. I lived in the city until I was about two or three years old, near Pikesville. Then I moved to Anne Arundel County and we lived in Riviera Beach. I could have gone into the military and served my country [in Vietnam] but I didn’t pass the physical. I was ready to serve. I sold my motorcycle, my boat, and my pickup truck. Then I went to Fort Holabird, the Army post in Baltimore City, for my physical. Some of us were picked out and told to get dressed. The doctor came up to here on me. I asked him, ‘why did I have to get dressed and come back to where I came from?’ He says, ‘son, you don’t see right and you don’t breathe right.’ I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, shorty, I graduated from ROTC military school and the junior naval academy. I was on the shooting team and I got probies that stand taller than you do. You only need one good eye to fire a weapon. And I’ve been breathing this way since day one.’ I went back home and told my parents I was robbed of the right to serve my country.”

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