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Growth Impaired Youth Sings National Anthem at Liberty Ceremonies With AM-Liberty Rdp, Bjt

July 4, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The 13-year-old disabled boy who sang ″The Star-Spangled Banner″ for President Reagan and the nation Thursday at the Statue of Liberty ceremony had already performed at the White House and before Pope John Paul II.

Kenneth Mack, of East Natchitoches, La., strode purposefully to the microphone on Governors Island on Thursday night, faced his audience and forcefully sang the national anthem without hesitation.

The youth, who has a congenital growth impairment, sang Ave Maria, in Latin, for the pope and had a special audience with the pontiff in Rome last November.

He also sang for Nancy Reagan during the New Orleans World’s Fair and again at the White House.

He has been a participant for more than five years in Very Special Arts, which coordinates arts programs for more than 600,000 people with disabilities.

His mother, Joyce Mack, told the Morning Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., that her son has been singing in the church choir since he was 2 years old. His father, Kenneth Mack Sr., is a minister and the son is the leader of his church’s junior choir.

″People would applaud and the more they clapped, the more he liked singing,″ his mother said.

″He just puts everything he has into his music″ because his condition restricts his participation in sports, she said. ″We’re very proud of him.″

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