A yellow ribbon magnet on his truck was not enough for Sid Busch.
He needed something to show his support for the troops, something that took more commitment, more sacrifice than a simple magnet.
"I feel guilty as hell that I got too old to serve with all this going on," Busch said of the ongoing wars.
So the career military man, veteran submariner and Patriots Point volunteer decided to get involved with an organization called Running in Honor of Fallen Heroes, a group formed to memorialize soldiers who fought for the country and show gratitude to them and their families.
Now Busch, 62, runs marathons around the country wearing the name of someone killed in the line of duty. He gives the shirt, and the medal he earns, to the soldier's family as a way of saying thanks.
Last year, Busch ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington wearing the name of Matthew Dillon, a Marine corporal killed in December
2006 by an IED in Iraq, less than two weeks before his 26th birthday.
On the 26-mile-plus run, Busch did not think about the course, about how far he had to go, how much punishment his body was taking. All he thought about was Dillon.
"I started thinking about what Matt went through, and there was no way I was going to stop," Busch said. "This kid is the type the world needs, and he's dead. I want people to know about him."
Neal and Lucy Dillon said they were touched by Busch's effort, surprised by how humble he is — calling to ask if he could run wearing their son's name — and amazed that he showed up in his Navy dress uniform.
"He did something that showed his love of country and took tremendous effort," Neal Dillon said. "When a man dedicates his endurance and strength for someone he never met, that is over and above the call of duty."
In a sense, Busch has been running for the military for 27 years. In 1981 he blew a disk in his back and his doctor was set to declare him unfit for submarine duty. Busch instead made a deal with his physician: If he could run a marathon, he could stay on his sub.
That was 150 marathons ago, including the one where he ran the last four miles with a broken ankle. "I was only four miles from the finish," Busch explained, "and I didn't know it was broken."
Ned Forney, education director and volunteer coordinator at Patriots Point, called Busch a charismatic guy who makes tours of the Yorktown and the submarine Clamagore, which he served on, special for visitors. And he calls Running in Honor of Fallen Heroes a perfect organization for Busch.
"He has a passion for people who serve and a passion for running," Forney said, "so this is perfect for him."
Busch, who served in the Submarine Corps from 1965 to 1991, said he fears that the country is falling into a Vietnam-like morass, that as long as the war doesn't affect people going to the mall, they don't think about it.
And that is something he cannot accept.
So he will continue to run, and continue to do it under the name of a fallen soldier. Right now he is training for a marathon in which he will wear the name of a Pennsylvania soldier.
Busch said that as long as Americans are fighting overseas, he will keep running to remind everyone of their sacrifice.
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