Tyler Teen Will Attend West Point

As he prepares to enter West Point, 18-year-old Cliff Harris is overwhelmed with the thought his name will follow on a list that includes such famous names like Lee, Jackson and Schwarzkoff.

"It's pretty incredible," he said, "to be walking where so many famous people have walked before you."

Cliff is one of the few young men and women appointed to attend the academy.

Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson both gave Cliff the nomination he needed to enter the academy.

With a 30 second phone call that confirmed his nomination, a childhood dream was fulfilled. A dream that later turned into a young man's purpose.

"In lieu of recent events, mostly September 11th had a lot to do with it," said Cliff. "It is a real meaningful way to help your country."

The oldest of seven children, Cliff's parents are proud, but not far from their minds are the dangers their son could face as a military officer.

"I have a few mixed emotions about it," said his father, Dr. Jim Harris. "There's always some risk in the military, but it's what he wants to do."
"I'm worried his dad's worried, but we have to temper that with how proud we are of him and keep in mind that this is what he really wants," said his mother, Mary.

Cliff said he's not worried even in these uncertain times.

"Somebody has to do it," Cliff said, "and you kind of have to stand up for what you believe in, for what your country stands for. "

Story by Maya Golden, mgolden@kltv.com