This year’s Boston Marathon featured several unlikely heroes.
One runner – a veteran who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan – was approaching the finish line when he picked up his guide and an American flag, crossing the line as bystanders cheered.
Earl Granville, a nine-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, lost a portion of his leg after when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle in 2008, WCVB reported. After his injury, he has participated in marathons in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and New York using a hand-bike.
On Monday, he took to the 26.2-mile course without the bike, choosing to use his own two legs – one prosthetic – instead.
“I don’t know what they’re inspired about,” Granville said in a Facebook Live broadcast in the middle of the race. “I’m walking.”
After crossing the video line, he and the woman, Andi, embraced for several moments with the American flag still in her hand.
Granville wasn’t the only wounded warrior with a flag in hand on Monday. Jose Luis Sanchez, a Marine sergeant who was also wounded in Afghanistan, was seen carrying the flag while he also completed the race while sporting a prosthetic leg.
Sanchez was wounded in 2011 after stepping on an IED while on patrol. The blast severely injured his right leg, and his left leg had to be amputated below the knew, WCVB reported.
This year marked Sanchez’s second time finishing the Boston Marathon. His goal this time around: to inspire others.
— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) April 17, 2017
Sanchez ran the marathon for Semper Fi, a fund that provides financial support to injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces post 9/11.
At the end of the race, Sanchez made sure to hoist the flag up high as he crossed the finish line.
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