Boy In Wheelchair Rises For American Flag (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani

To many, what happened that day was a miracle.

"Here come the junior ROTC, marching along and chanting, and I heard ... 'He's standing!' and I knew what he was standing for, in an instant,'" recalls Arek Trenholm's uncle, Myron Leggett, while watching his teenage nephew rise up for the flag.  "I whipped around real quick with the camera and just started snapping pictures of him."

Leggett was excited for a good reason: For nearly a decade, 16-year-old Arek Trenholm has been unable to stand on his own.

The teen has spina bifida, a condition that has affected the development of both his backbone and spinal cord.

"Actually, before he was born, we knew that he had the spina bifida," said Leggett.

That's why it was so remarkable that -- despite how hard it was for him to do so -- Arek decided to use his arms to rise for the flag.

"I didn't want to be disrespectful, and I always stand up when ... they do the flag," said Arek.

The proud uncle later posted photos on his Facebook page, along with some controversial commentary.

"He's making that effort, where so many ... that have legs, that could stand, are sitting or kneeling," wrote Leggett on his Facebook page. "And not using their 'well legs' to stand and respect those who have fought and died for our flag and for our country."

The photo has since gone viral, attracting praise from many.

"Arek, I am a US Navy veteran who spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan," wrote one user. "I just want you to know that you are MY hero. Thank you so much... and G-d bless you and your family."

Others commented shaming athletes like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refuse to stand for the flag as a way to highlight the plight of minorities in America.

“There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country," Kaepernick said, The Wrap reports. "And people don’t like to address that. And they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is. And people want to take everything back to the flag, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that are happening across the nation.”

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