Knoxville (WVLT) The past week has been a call for change for thousands of local high school graduates.
Maybe its college, maybe its work, but for some, Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford tells us, it could be a call to war.
As the tassels on thousands of Knox County High School graduates quickly turn, so will their lives.
"I've been waiting for this for 14 years," said new graduate Joseph Robinson. "I'm overwhelmed to the biggest degree."
"It was great," said Preston Shelton, "just walking across the stage was awesome."
Some students like Shelton have focused their four years at Gibbs high school on their schools Junior ROTC program.
"I graduated as a captain," Shelton said, "I was a company commander."
And now Shelton says he's ready to serve our country...
"I have signed a contract, six year contract, through the military," said Shelton.
After his basic training he'll head to Carson-Newman to be prepare as a chaplain for the Army.
"I love God and I love the military," Shelton said, "so I thought if you could put those two together, I could become a chaplain."
He says he'll to go to Iraq, if that's what it takes to help...
"There's always risks," Shelton said, "I mean, if you're chose to be sent there, if that's God's will, then that's where you're supposed to go."
"It's part of life," Robinson said. "Death is a part of life and these people serve their country with the most dignity and honor."
A former Gibbs Junior ROTC member, Robinson says he's strongly considering becoming a Marine.
"It worries me, yes, but you're called to do a duty and you're there to do it" Robinson said, "and I'm going to do it no matter what."
Gibbs graduate Jason Belt joined the Army National Guard last January.
"I think we're doing the right thing," Belt said, "I knew what I was getting into when I signed up."
All of the graduating Junior ROTC's say they're constantly remembering the ones who've died fighting for our freedom.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as the graduating class of 2007," Belt said.