There’s a time-honored quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Widely known by his initials “FDR,” he served this nation as president from 1933 until his death in 1945.
“Courage is not the absence of fear,” he once intoned, “but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
FDR knew something about prevailing in the face of fearsome odds. According to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, he was diagnosed with polio in 1921.
Thereafter, FDR was confined to a wheelchair. But that didn’t stop him from encouraging millions by his example of dedicated leadership.
Young Olivia Towles knows something about bold resilience, too. She’s only 7 years old, but she already understands what it means to shoulder challenging hardship with grace.
The young Lexington, Kentucky, resident struggles daily with cerebral palsy. Cerebralpalsy.org explains that this neurological disorder affects body movement, muscle coordination and overall motor function.
There’s no cure for the debilitating condition. But that hasn’t stopped Olivia from approaching her life with gusto regardless.
Recently, for example, she left the crowd at a local Lexington Legends minor league baseball game both stunned and inspired. The reason?
Olivia decided to get up and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” That would be a daunting task for almost anyone — but little Olivia needed physical assistance just to stand in front of that microphone.
Her mother Courtney was there to help her daughter rise to the occasion. While she provided both physical and emotional support, Mom was also understandably worried for her girl.
But Olivia told Inside Edition that she wasn’t intimidated by the live audience or the complicated melody. “I wasn’t nervous,” she insisted.
Courtney explains that her daughter had previously sung the national anthem at school. Not long after that stirring rendition, the Legends asked if Olivia might like to perform at an upcoming playoff game.
True to her buoyant attitude, Olivia agreed. And when she finally took her place in front of that solitary mike, she knocked it right out of the park.
It was a fitting tribute to the spirit behind the song itself. As The History Channel explains, Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics after witnessing Maryland’s Fort McHenry being mercilessly attacked by British forces during the War of 1812.
At its very foundation, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a tribute to courageous endurance through staggering tests and trials.
The rousing words proclaim it all: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air/Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
Olivia chose to sing out proudly as she honored our country. And now, thousands across social media are saluting her bravery.
“She’s an inspiration,” Courtney told Inside Edition. “Mainly I hope that other kids with disabilities, that it can teach them that they can be brave too.”
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