One of the most memorable images from the Boston Marathon isn’t of the person who ran it the fastest, but of a Marine. Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, carried an American flag through the entire race in recognition veterans and to show those who feel that they can’t accomplish something that anything is possible.
[Scroll down for video]
As reported by NBC Sports, Sanchez lost his lower left leg after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan during his 2011 tour of duty. He ran on his prosthetic left leg while wearing a “Semper Fi” shirt and carrying the American flag, finishing the 26.2-mile race for the Semper Fi Fund, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to post-9/11 wounded and critically ill members of the Armed Forces and their families.
After completing the event, Sanchez said, “I wanted to not only recognize veterans, but everyone that thinks that they’re unable to do something.” He continued, “I couldn’t stand up for more than three seconds or walk more than two feet [after stepping on the IED]. And I fought my way for four, five years, just to be able to walk farther, be able to lift my body up. I kept on pushing it. Mentally and spiritually, I was good, so I wanted to push it ever farther and do the marathon.”
The American flag Sanchez carried through the race features inspirational messages from members of his patrol unit, given to him after he sustained his injury. While speaking with Runner’s World about the flag, Sanchez said, “I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it.” He went on to say, “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”
Sanchez said that running the marathon wasn’t about himself, but about inspiring and motivating others.
As reported by Fox News, Sanchez wasn’t the only wounded veteran who ran the Boston Marathon. Earl Granville, a former member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan made headlines when he carried his race partner across the finish line. His race partner displayed an American flag while being carried across Granville’s shoulders. It is unknown if she was injured.