Since retiring from the Navy as Senior Chief Petty Officer, Sid Busch has finished hundreds of half-marathons and full-marathons to honor the service members that have been lost.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that between 11 and 20 percent of veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTS), compared to only around 7 percent of average citizens who will have it during the course of their lives.
Busch, aged 69, has been competing in both full marathons and half-marathons for the last ten years. He is well-known in the running community because he carries a large American flag with him as he runs and pinned to his back is the picture of a fallen veteran.
He first began running marathons with his cousin in 2001. They completed six together before his cousin was killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Busch said, “I wanted to do something to remember him, so I ran all six marathons in his honor.” He has also said that he considers running in honor of others is the least that he can do for his nation.
“I have the easy part. What keeps me going is that it gets me so angry that the average person knows the Kardashians or someone from Hollywood, but they have no idea who these kids are. It is unacceptable. We have kids joining the military at a time when it is not safe, but they think enough of this country to go and fight and die,” says Busch.
The 2013 Air Force Marathon speaks to his commitment to those who serve. As he was running for Marine Cpl. Matt Dillon, who, like Busch, hailed from South Carolina, he began to feel an intense pain in his leg.
Busch kept running, repeatedly touching the picture of Dillon, who had earned a Purple Heart while serving in the Iraq and was killed in 2006 when he and two fellow Marines were hit by an improvised explosive device.
Busch crossed the finishing line unaware that he had done so on a broken leg.
One of the more memorable races was the one he ran for Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea. He was unexpectedly met at the finish by Shea’s mother, who handed Busch one of the 28 American flags that were placed in her front yard by the Marines who informed her that Shea had been killed in action.