Teen in wheelchair rises for American flag

It had been seven years since 16-year-old Arek Trenholm last stood on his own, at least for any appreciable amount of time.  Trenholm has spina bifida, a congenital condition which impacts the development of the backbone and spinal cord. 

"Actually, before he was born, we knew that he had the spina bifida," explained Arek's uncle, Myron Leggett.

Leggett is a professional photographer in Leesburg, Florida, and he was there when Arek and his little brother watched the local high school's homecoming parade pass by his shop.

"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,'" said Leggett.  "I whipped around real quick with the camera and just started snapping pictures of him."

Leggett captured one image of Arek using his arms to "stand," because he can't actually do it with his legs.

"Really made you proud of him, and what he was doing," Leggett added.

So proud, Uncle Myron posted the picture on his Facebook page, along with some commentary about that amazing feat.

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

That photograph has since gone viral.

"The likes were coming like crazy!  Comments were coming in like crazy!" Leggett said.

Arek is a little shy and soft spoken, but he did tell us why he stood on that warm October afternoon.

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

A small gesture, from a kid with a big heart.