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The San Diego-Tijuana Border Was The Setting Of An Emotional, Bi-National Easter Celebration

@DailySanDiego / Twitter / CBS 8 KFMB

Dozens of people separated by deportations finally had a chance to reconnect as they celebrated Easter at the U.S.-Mexico border. Their meeting was organized by El Faro: The Border Church, a church that holds services at the border every Sunday for Mexican and U.S. nationals, and Caravan Against Fear, a traveling immigration advocacy group. They teamed up to give several families a chance to reconnect at International Friendship Park in San Diego, Calif.

Families in the U.S. and Mexico gathered at the border wall in San Diego, Calif. to celebrate Easter and reconnect after years of separation.

Fox 5 KSWB
CREDIT: Fox 5 KSWB

Friend of the Border Church Father Dermot Rodgers told FOX 5 KSWB why they held the service at the border wall separating San Diego, Calif. and Tijuana, Mexico: “To celebrate the promise that this day brings to Christians and that’s hope and renewal and promise.” Rodgers added, “Our being here, to bring families together, is to bear witness on this side of the border that we expect and hope that one day what seemed like utter darkness and deportation will become a resurrected story of family reunification.”

Families at the wall gathered to worship together and bring attention to the issues facing immigrants in the U.S.

CBS 8 KFMB
CREDIT: CBS 8 KFMB

According to a video by CBS 8 KFMB, the gathering was in large part a symbolic movement by the organizations El Far: The Border Church and Caravan Against Fear to show that they are all one family, the human family. Attendees on both sides of the border worshipped in unison while chanting and bringing attention to what the current immigration system looks like with real people.

“We don’t need any more militarization of the border,” Caravan Against Fear spokesperson Alejandra Valles told FOX 5 KSWB.

CBS 8 KFMB
CREDIT: CBS 8 KFMB

“We don’t need anymore walls. We already have enough of that. What we need is to start respecting one another as human beings and to start understanding and figuring out how we deal with some of the issues that are happening in Syria, in Mexico, in Haiti, in Brazil, across the world,” Valles told FOX 5 KSWB. “What we are are human beings and we need to start treating each other as such, as neighbors.”

Emotions ran high as siblings reunited with siblings and children reunited with parents after years of separation.

Fox 5 KSWB
CREDIT: Fox 5 KSWB

And many traveled to San Diego or Tijuana for a chance to touch fingers with loved ones they have been separated from for so long.

Fox 5 KSWB
CREDIT: Fox 5 KSWB

Families were able to spend a few hours talking and touching fingers through the border fence that has steadily grown since the park was first created. At first there was just a chain link fence the marked the international border. It was from 2009 to 2011 that more fences were added and the access to the border fence was severely restricted making moments to reconnect that much more impactful and important.

Watch the full news story here.


READ: This Immigration Rights Group Gave 6 Families The Chance To Cross The Border For A 3-Minute Visit

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Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, Who Lost Leg In Afghanistan, Crosses Boston Marathon Carrying U.S. Flag

Things That Matter

Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, Who Lost Leg In Afghanistan, Crosses Boston Marathon Carrying U.S. Flag

jls143_ / Instagram

In 2013 the Boston Marathon was viciously attacked. When a home-made bomb went off at the finish line, three people lost their lives and 264 were injured, including 14 who needed amputations. Since then, the running of the annual marathon has become a symbol of perseverance for many, with some of the victims of the bombing returning to run again. Runners have come from all over to show their grit, determination and for many, their patriotism.


Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez a retired marine and amputee completed the Boston Marathon with a U.S. flag in hand.

A post shared by Laura Vitalini (@lkv117) on

This year’s breakout Boston Marathon story of perseverance and patriotism is undoubtedly that of retired marine, Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, who lost part of his leg in 2011 after stepping on an IED while on duty in Afghanistan. Sanchez completed the 26 mile race in under 6 hours, while wearing a “Semper Fi” shirt and waving a giant U.S. flag the whole way. Whatever your politics, there’s no denying his strength and bravery, coming back to run after not being able to stand for more than three seconds at a time.


In a video from The Boston Herald, Sanchez commented on his journey from not being able to stand, to running 26 miles.

Credit: Boston Herald / Youtube

“I wanted to not only recognize veterans and stuff, but everyone that thinks that they’re unable to do something. I couldn’t stand up for more than three seconds or walk more than two feet, and I fought my way for four, five years, just to be able to walk farther, be able to lift my body up. And I kept on pushing it. Mentally and spiritually I was good, so I wanted to push it even further and do the marathon.”


There were tons of images of Sanchez running with his flag on social media.

According to an interview with Runner’s World, the flag he ran with was given to him by his patrol unit as he recovered. The flag has positive messages written on it in marker. Of the flag, Sanchez told Runner’s World “I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it.” He then went on to say: “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”


The crowds were all about it, cheering him on loudly while he pushed forward.

He looked strong from start to finish.


But no image was as powerful as seeing him actually cross the finish line, with the crowd cheering and his flag waving.

A fellow runner offered to help, but Sanchez was strong on his own.


If you’re not crying yet, put on your seatbelt and grab some tissues. He ran with his wife, who recorded and cheered him on the whole way, hugging him at the end.

They crossed the finish line together and shared a big hug.


As beautiful as it all is, according to his Instagram account, it was a long and difficult road and inspiration was only the beginning.

♠I HAVE BEEN SCARED AND FUCKING TERRIFIED OF THIS BOSTON MARATHON. IM AFRAID OF FAILURE AND LOSS AND TO LET EVERYONE DOWN, BUT THROUGH THE LOVE AND SUPPORT. I’M REMINDED THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING THE BIGGEST , STRONGEST OR FASTEST PERSON. ITS ABOUT NEVER FUCKING GIVING UP. NEVER FUCKING QUITING. NEVER FUCKING SURRENDERING. IT’S ABOUT FIGHTING BACK WHEN LIFE PUSHES YOU AROUND. YOU FUCKING PUSH BACK AND PUSH BACK FUCKING HARD. IT’S ABOUT BEING FUCKING RESILIENT, KEEPING THE MOTHER FUCKING DRIVE ALIVE AND PUSHING THE LIMITS OF FUCKING POSSIBLE. THAT’S WHAT THE FUCK IT’S ALL ABOUT!!!!! ________________________________________________ #FUCKIT #FUCKSHITUP #SEMPERFI #DRIVE #DESIRE #MOTIVATE #INSPIRE #NEVERGIVEUP #NEVERSURRENDER #BERESILIENT #FITSPIRATION #FITFAM #AFFLICTIONSPORT #AFFLICTION #FIGHTHARD #LIVEFREE #LIVEFAST #LOVEHARD

A post shared by Jose Luis Sanchez (@jls143_) on

According to him, it all started with fear, but an immense sense of hard work and determination has brought him all the way to where he is today.


Sanchez went on to work amazingly hard and used his Instagram account to inspire others with his journey, amassing over 30k followers along the way.

A post shared by Jose Luis Sanchez (@jls143_) on

 The man is a beast.


After the marathon, Sanchez took to Instagram, to drive the inspirational point home.

“Just wanted to let you know this is not about me. It’s about what this represent(s). It’s for you all to see how we all impact each other for a greater good.”


Hang on while I go find a gym to sign up for and hug my mom. No, you’re crying.


[H/T] Marine who lost leg in Afghanistan runs Boston Marathon with American flag

READ: This Former Marine Had To Self-Deport To Mexico Before He Could Become A U.S. Citizen


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