US Marine amputee from 9/11 attack excelling at Invictus Games

On September 11, 2001, Sara Rudder was a Marine awaiting a promotion ceremony when she found herself conducting a casualty evacuation after a terrorist attack instead.

After helping others at the Pentagon get to safety, she returned two days later – on a day that would change her life forever– to help remove the remains of her fallen comrades.

While working her way through the ruble, her left ankle became stuck and crushed by a concrete barrier.

According to CBS news, her injury required five reconstructive surgeries and her left leg ended up being amputated after 13 years of recovery.

Despite Rudder’s long ordeal, she found solace in the world of sports.  The time she spent training in the military’s Wounded Warrior program paved her way to success in the Invictus Games.

The international Invictus Games, held for wounded service members from thirteen nations, began in Orlando, Florida this week.

The event was founded when Britain’s Prince Harry, who is a combat veteran of Afghanistan, ended his ten years of service in the British Army.

The term “Invictus” was taken from the poem, “Invictus,” written by William Ernest Henley almost 150 years ago.

The last stanza of the short poem, which was originally published in 1888 without a title, reads: “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

Rudder, who has now captured seven medals –all within the first two days of the games- for team USA, exemplifies the poem perfectly.

The Marine Corps veteran won gold medals in the lightweight powerlifting competition, discus, 100 meters.  She has also claimed silver medals in four-minute indoor rowing, shot-put and 200 meters dash.

“I might be missing a leg but there are people out there missing two and three limbs or are paralyzed from the waist down or chest down. They are my inspiration,” said the humble Marine.

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