The bronze Helen Keller statue reenacts the moment when Anne Sullivan spelled “W-A-T-E-R” on her hand as a 7-year-old child.
“Some are still dismissed and cast aside for nothing more than being less than perfect,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) at the unveiling. “The story of Helen Keller inspires us all.”
Helen Keller lost both her sight and hearing to illness when she was just 19 months old. The statue depicts the moment back in 1887 when teacher Anne Sullivan spelled out the word “W-A-T-E-R” on one of Keller’s hands while she held her other hand under a water pump.
At that exact moment, Helen Keller learned that meanings were hidden in the alphabetic shapes Sullivan had taught her how to make by shaping her hands.
“W-A-T-E-R,” said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. “Five simple letters that helped rescue 7-year-old Helen Keller from a world of darkness and a world of silence.
“It is this defining moment that we celebrate today. And in time, this moment so vividly depicted by this statue helped the world to understand that all of us, regardless of any disability, have a mind that can be educated, a hand that can be trained, a life that will have meaning.”
Keller eventually learned how to speak and later obtained a degree from Radcliffe College and Harvard. She also went on to write 12 books.
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