I find little bits of inspiration and motivation all over the place. Yesterday, I saw photos of Staff Sgt. Sanchez finishing the Boston Marathon. He was running with an American flag as he crossed the finish line and I thought it was a particularly powerful image.
Later, I read a bit of his story and in it he said, “It’s not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, to be motivated.” Oh really? Well, mission accomplished! I, for one, am feeling particularly pumped up.
This story makes me feel appreciative, fiercely proud, uplifted and infused with energy. We all have challenges we need to face. It helps immensely to see someone else who has successfully met challenges of their own. It reminds you of the possible and how though wounded inside or out we can overcome, we can heal, we can re-fashion the shattered pieces of ourselves and continue to go forward…maybe just not the way we’d originally planned but forward nevertheless.
Staff Sgt. Sanchez’s story as featured on NBC Sports sponsored Olympic Talk.
“On the best day for Americans in the Boston Marathon’s prize-money era, it was a man who took nearly six hours to finish who provided the most indelible image of American pride.
Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, a retired Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011, was filmed and photographed throughout Monday’s 26.2-mile race.
Sanchez wore a “Semper Fi” shirt, ran on a prosthetic left leg and carried an American flag.
“I wanted to not only recognize veterans, but everyone that thinks that they’re unable to do something,” Sanchez told media afterward. “I couldn’t stand up for more than three seconds or walk more than two feet [after stepped on an IED]. And I found my 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 even farther and do the marathon.”
The flag Sanchez carried Monday was full of inspirational messages. Via Runner’s World:
The flag was sent to him by his patrol unit as he recovered in the hospital.
“I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it,” Sanchez said. “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”
“It’s not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, to be motivated,” Sanchez said on local Boston TV in the finish area. “We live for others. I’ve learned that throughout being angry, being frustrated. With all that PTSD, I’m channeling it to do positive.”
He previously ran the Boston Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., last year, carrying that same flag.”
Today I was very diligently doing my extra cardio while listening to songs on my pretty, pink iPod. I think I was at about 1 hour, 10 minutes (out of a total of 1 hour, 20 minutes) and I looked out of the front window of the gym. From the cardio area that I was in, I was able to see the many cars in the parking lot and across the way a bank. The bank has a flagpole, from which a tattered, dirty American flag hangs limp at half mast. It’s been just like that, sadly hanging there since the Boston Marathon attacks. Every day when I pull in the lot to do my workout I see this same sight. It inspired me to write an open note to my friends/children/family a couple of days ago and then when I saw the flag, still lowered this morning, I decided to add it here.
To all of you in my circle,
I will die sooner or later and my hope is that when I look back on the life I lived here I can say I did a good job. I want to be able to feel proud of my efforts and of my contribution while I was here. There is no telling how or when I’ll be leaving but the recent terrorist bombings in Boston have made me reflect on my preferences if I should meet my maker in any kind of similar circumstance.
If I am killed, do NOT under any circumstance lower the flag for me. I understand this to be a sign of respect, of mourning and I know why various politicians ordered the lowering of the flag for the people killed in the bomb attack but I find it unconscionable to think that a cowardly terrorist could cause the flag to be lowered on my behalf…..EVER! If anything, weld an extra segment onto the pole so it flies higher than before.
If you need to cry, please do so in your bedroom closet. Your tears are an honest expression and there is a place for them. It’s not where those who wish us harm can see. Stand tall and dry-eyed in public.
Do not observe a public moment of silence anywhere, anytime. Talk louder, talk more. Talk about freedom, talk about America, talk about our founding principles, talk about human dignity, love, sacrifice and appreciation.
Don’t concern yourself with my funeral. Politicians are to make no appearances. Have a party somewhere. Celebrate life and the opportunities you have to improve and help others while you’re here.
Don’t wring your hands and ask “Why?” over and over. Evil exists on this Earth. Some people commit acts against the innocent precisely to fill their “enemies” with fear, to paralyze them, to make them weak, nervous and upset….to grind them down psychologically. They do it because they feel commanded by their faith to dominate and eradicate those who have a different orientation. They do it to demoralize. Don’t ask why, know why. Inform yourself. Pull up your socks, wipe your nose, take a deep breath and move forward. Instead of asking why, say “NO!” Do not allow them to win the battle for your spirit.
I assure you I’m fine, maybe sorry I had to go while there was still so much to be done but perfectly fine. Perhaps we will run into each other on the flip side. Until then, be encouraged, hold your head up and stay strong!