LEESBURG, Fla. - Nothing was going to stop a Florida teenager from rising for the American flag, not even his wheelchair.
Arek Trenholm, a 16-year-old from Leesburg who has the congenital condition spina bifida, hasn't been able to stand or walk on his own for most of his life. So when he was at Leesburg High School's homecoming parade with his family on Oct. 12, no one expected him to stand up as the junior ROTC marched by carrying the American flag.
While Trenholm could have remained seated, he instead used his arms to boost himself up out of his wheelchair. The teen's uncle, Myron Leggett, heard the commotion and said he immediately knew what was happening. Leggett, a professional photographer, spun around and captured the moment in a picture that has gone viral since it was posted online Friday.
It was a bold gesture for a teen who's been described as shy and quiet, and Leggett said it speaks volumes about his character.
"He did that with nobody pressuring him, nobody suggesting that he did that," Leggett said. "It was a quiet little statement ... it was something he did for himself, and it resonated with people across the country."
Commenters online, including veterans, have applauded Trenholm for his act of patriotism and have encouraged others to follow in his path.
"It's been such a good, positive outpouring of love and support for Arek," Leggett said.
As the photo continues to get attention online, Leggett said he hopes more people will be inspired to show honor and respect for the flag and for those who have fought for the country's freedom.
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