Grads headed on to military deserve proper recognition.

We're quick to honor veterans when they return from war or other military service, and rightly so.

Likewise, high school graduates who choose the military as a first career also deserve a heartfelt salute when they head off to serve their country.

At many high school senior award banquets across the country, students selected for military academies and college ROTC programs receive recognition. But that's not always the case for those students who choose to bypass college and enlist in the military right out of high school an unfortunate oversight that hit home with folks who got behind a movement to present ceremonies nationwide to honor high school grads entering the military.

Our Community Salutes is a national, nonprofit organization created to recognize high school seniors who planned to enlist in the armed services after graduation.

Founded with a single ceremony in 2009, Our Community Salutes has blossomed into an organization that looked to honor 4,700 seniors this year. The ceremonies also demonstrate welcome support for families worried about the future of their loved one entering the armed forces.

Schools and communities that don't pursue such ceremonies should consider their own ways to single out the young men and women leaving their hometowns for a stint in the military.

After all, military-bound grads made a difficult decision. Many enlisted because they couldn't afford college and knew the military offered good training and financial aid for college.

Those who chose such a path also had to acknowledge the potential danger.

During one Our Community Salutes event this year, Army Maj. Gen. David L. Mann, who oversees recruiting for the Army, talked about the sound qualifications of today's military recruits.

"They are better than most of their peers," he said in his speech, "not in an arrogant way, but because they chose a harder path."

Indeed, a good number of new recruits will be at war in Afghanistan within a year.

And some will not return home, which would be all the more reason to salute their courage and commitment when they volunteer to join the nation's fighting force.