The U.S. Army Reserves at Fort Story helped make a young girl’s dream come true by making her an honorary soldier Saturday.
Bailey Langston, born with cerebral palsy, was honored during a ceremony while donned in her Army Combat Uniform. The seven-year-old from Mount Jackson, Va. says she was inspired to join the military one day by a friend’s mom.
“I just figured out that I would have a lot of friends and they would support me and I would support them,” said Langston.
Langston’s parents, Jennifer and Lance Langston, say their daughter has a tough time walking, jumping and climbing, and is bullied at school on a regular basis.
“She’s like ‘Mom, I don’t understand why I get bullied so much. I don’t understand why I get made fun of so much. I won’t get to do the things that other kids get to do. I won’t get to do cheerleading when I get into high school. I won’t get to do the military,’” said Jennifer.
Army personnel at Fort Story honored Bailey in the same ceremony as another military hero.
Spc. Charles Ryan Clemente, an Army medic, was awarded a Purple Heart for his service and injuries he sustained in Afghanistan in 2012. A 120-pound Improvised Explosive Device (IED) hit his convoy, injuring five other soldiers and leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.
“I don’t do this to be a hero,” said Clemente. “I do it for my battle buddies. I do it for the other soldiers. I do it for the families that want their soldiers to come home. I don’t do this for fame and glory.”
Clemente explained how he copes with the trauma he endured.
“I still get nightmares and still have trouble sleeping, but that’s what the Mrs. is here for,” said Clemente. “She knows how to calm me down. If it wasn’t for her, none of this would be possible right now.”
The medic provided medical assistance to himself and the other soldiers in his convoy on March 14, 2012. It’s a day he says he’ll never forget.
While Langston will likely never serve in active-duty capacity, she said there is a lot to learn from those who have in the past.
“I hope they see me with (leg) braces and they say, ‘Hey she has a disability I can do anything I want too.’”