A bronze statue of Helen Keller was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, with lawmakers praising the girl as an inspiration for those with disabilities.
Keller, who lost her sight and hearing to illness when she was 19 months old, was taught how to communicate by teacher Anne Sullivan in the late 1880s. The statue shows a 7-year-old Keller standing at a water pump, with a look of recognition on her face as water streams into her hand, according to CNN.
This moment, which was famously depicted in the 1962 movie, â€œThe Miracle Worker,â€ is when Sullivan spelled â€œW-A-T-E-Râ€ into one of Kellerâ€™s hands as she held the other under the pump. Keller then realized meanings were hidden in the manual alphabet shapes Sullivan had taught her to make with her hands, CNN reported.
“W-A-T-E-R,” said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley at the ceremony on Wednesday. “Five simple letters that helped rescue 7-year-old Helen Keller from a world of darkness and a world of silence.
Keller eventually learned to speak, earned a college degree, and became an author before her death in 1968 at age 87.