A Florida man was watching a parade with his family, which included his wheelchair-bound nephew, when the American flag was marched by. At that moment, he saw his nephew stir in his seat and, right away, knew what was going to happen. The uncle quickly grabbed his camera to catch an epic gesture that made news headlines.
In October 2016, Myron Leggett and his family were watching a high school homecoming parade outside his photography studio in Leesburg, Florida. When the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps marched by with the American flag, his nephew, then-16-year-old Arek Trenholm, suddenly stood up from his wheelchair.
“My sister just called out, ‘He’s standing!’ And instantly, I knew what he was doing,” Leggett told ABC News.
Being a professional photographer, Leggett told WFOL that he “whipped around real quick with the camera and just started snapping pictures of him.”
Arek, who was born with spina bifida, a congenital condition that affects the development of the spinal cord, has been wheelchair-bound for over 10 years.
Despite his disability, Arek would stand up for national anthems, pledges, and flags, his mother, Deree Trenholm, said. She added that Arek always chooses leg braces that have the American flag on them and has accumulated 10 pairs in all.
“He didn’t have to do that. He has an excuse to stay seated,” Leggett said. “Nobody told him, nobody encouraged him and he did it on his own. I admire him for that and I’m very proud of him.”
Leggett later posted the photo on his Facebook page, which soon garnered much praise for Arek.
To all of “Those” that refuse to stand for the Flag of the United States of America……….. this is my nephew Arek Trenholm, he has “spina bifida” he used his arms to “STAND” from his wheelchair as our Flag passed by!! He will never be able to “play” football, if he could, he would “Stand” as the flag passed or when the “National Anthem” is played. Take a lesson!
Leggett’s post was also a call-out to footballers who had knelt during the national anthem as a sign of protest.
“He’s making that effort, where so many that have legs, that could stand, are sitting or kneeling and not using their ‘well legs’ to stand and respect those who have fought and died for our flag and for our country,” Leggett told WOFL.
After Arek’s story went viral, a company that makes standing wheelchairs, The Standing Company—owned by a veteran—decided they wanted to help Arek.
“If somebody with a disability or limitation can stand themselves up, then other people can do it,” David Maszik, the founder of the company, told WNEM.
“He’s a great example for many people I think and it was neat to see,” he added.
Arek later received a standing wheelchair that was customized for him from the company.