New York Post By Chris Perez October 19, 2016
A Florida teenager with spina bifida was caught on camera shaming athletes who sit for the national anthem — using his arms to proudly “stand” from his wheelchair as the American flag passed by him during a parade.
Arek Trenholm, 16, has become a social media sensation after his uncle Myron Leggett, a professional photographer, snapped a picture of the patriotic act and posted it to his Facebook page on Oct. 14.
The image shows the teen pushing himself up on his own at a local high school’s homecoming parade as the junior ROTC color guard approaches with the Stars and Stripes.
“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!!” Leggett wrote in the description of the photo, which has been shared more than 500 times on Facebook.
“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!”
The football comment refers to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been choosing to sit during the national anthem as a protest over the treatment of African-Americans. He has also inspired several others to do so in recent weeks.
The decision to try to stand for the first time in seven years to pay his respects had social media users lauding Trenholm, who hails from Leesburg, Florida, about an hour northwest of Orlando.
“Arek, I am a US Navy veteran who spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan…and I just want you to know that you are MY hero,” wrote Facebook user Sean Holden.
Maureen Huebel added, “Mr. Leggett — I am the adult child of a Disabled Veteran and also the reigning Mrs. Florida USA Earth. Please send my kuddos to your nephew Arek and let him know it would be an honor to shake his hand someday.”
The teen told WOFL FOX 35 that he ultimately stood last week because he “didn’t want to be disrespectful.”
“I always stand up when … they do the flag,” he said solemnly.
According to his family, Trenholm was born with spina bifida — a congenital condition that affects the development of the spinal cord.
While his patriotism has inspired countless strangers from across the country, his biggest fan may, in fact, be his uncle.
“He’s making that effort, where so many … that have legs, that could stand, are sitting or kneeling,” Legget told WOFL. “And not using their ‘well legs’ to stand and respect those who have fought and died for our flag and for our country.”