Students honored for answering call to serve

More than 200 high school seniors recognized for entering military


SAN ANTONIO – More than 200 high school seniors were saluted Thursday for their choice to enlist in the armed forces directly after graduation.

The second annual event was organized by Our Community Salutes - San Antonio.

The group's president, Cyndi Porter, said the ceremony will likely be the only time the students will be recognized for answering the call to serve.

"You stand on the stage [during graduation] and they announce where you're going and they announce how much money you're getting, but what happens in a lot of schools is that when someone is going on to the military they don't announce anything," Porter said.

Each senior had his or her own reason for joining the military.

"It was actually a very important step," said Marine Corps recruit Eric Salinas. "I felt, ‘why not support this country and do something for myself?'"

"The reason I'm doing this is because everyone in my family served," said Army recruit Nicholas Kennedy.

Ethan Hill is joining the Marine Corps.

As the lone senior on the ceremony's Color Guard, he said it was honor to celebrate with people who are making the same life-changing decision he is.

"It's a great inspiration to me," Hill said. "It's good to see a lot of military people around here, and it just makes me that much more proud to enter the Marines."

The event also allowed the families of the soon-to-be service men and women a chance to learn more about the sacrifice their sons and daughters are making, and the educational opportunities that come with it.

"In the military nowadays…they're expecting the young ones when they come to immediately start on their education. They want not only warriors, they want intelligent warriors," Porter said. "The parents, they wander in thinking, ‘Do I really want to do this? Do I want my child to go into the military?"'' They walk out thinking, ‘How proud I am for doing this for my country.'"

For a list of recent stories Cory Smith has done, click here.