Marines have a reputation for being tough, and they also have a reputation for being patriotic. One disabled veteran proved he was both. Even though he lost a leg in combat, the Marine ran the 2017 Boston Marathon with a prosthetic leg, and he carried a huge American flag the entire way.
The poster man for Patriot's Day, Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez lost the lower part of his left leg in Afghanistan in 2011 when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device IED). That didn't slow him down, though.
Sanchez showed up on Patriot's Day in Boston ready to display his pride in his country. He ran the entire 26.2-mile race, finishing in 5:46:13, a time that someone with two good legs would be proud of.
Donning a Semper Fi Fund shirt, Sanchez was running to raise funds for the organization that supports wounded veterans.
"I want to recognize veterans and everyone who thinks they can't do something," the veteran told Runner's World.
Sanchez held an American Flag and waved it the entire journey. Upon close inspection, you'll see writing on the flag. Those are signatures, well wishes and inspirational messages to Sanchez. It was sent to him by his patrol unit while he was in the hospital recovering from losing his leg. He says it is what inspired him to run the marathon.
"I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn't want to acknowledge it," Sanchez explained in his interview with Runner's World. "One day, I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me, and I was motivated."
You have to admire not only a man who would put his life on the line to fight for his country but a man courageous and strong enough to make a comeback from such a devastating injury. Sanchez is a true patriot and a true hero.