Singing
Wounded marine wins hearts on America’s Got Talent singing ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’
“I want to show other warriors that it’s possible to follow your dreams.” 💘
Elijah Chan
06.02.22

“I want to show other warriors that it’s possible to follow your dreams.”

A man in plaid marches onto the stage and faces four judges. Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howard Stern.

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

He came in just like any other contestant pursuing their dream of singing but underneath the smiles was an inspiring story.

Judge Howie Mandel asked the man to tell them a bit about himself.

He was working with Wounded Warrior.

When asked if he was a volunteer for the organization or a soldier, he said he served in the United States Marine Corps.

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

The man is Sal Gonzalez.

He is an Iraqi War veteran who never let go of his dreams of becoming a performer. And if he hasn’t shown it already, Gonzalez proved that he was more than what meets the eye.

He then pulled up one side of his pants only to show that there was a prosthetic leg where his leg should’ve been. Then, he said, quite stoically, that he got blown up.

Gonzalez joined the Marine Corps fresh out of high school. He is part of the generation that responded to the call after the attacks on 9/11.

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

“That tragedy inspired me to join the military,” says Gonzalez to the Wounded Warrior. “The fact that I come from a family of immigrants propelled me to want to join. I wanted to give back for all this country has given us.”

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines as a machine gunner. Then, just two weeks after being based in Iraq, his platoon was driving through Ramadi.

He was hit by an improvised explosive device.

He was in a coma for about a week. When he finally came to, he found himself at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland,

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

At that moment, he asked his doctors when he could go back. Then, they explained to him the damage that was done to his body.

His leg was amputated below the knee.

But instead of holding onto his loss, he turned to the only thing that sustained him since he was young – his love for singing and music.

Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram

Isang post na ibinahagi ni Wounded Warrior Project (@wwp)

During his stay at Bethesda, Gonzalez became involved with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Through their activities, he found a way to channel his passion.

The music flowed from him.

Tingnan ang post na ito sa Instagram

Isang post na ibinahagi ni Wounded Warrior Project (@wwp)

“Playing and writing music has always been my passion, and luckily, my injury has not affected that at all.” He said to the organization.

His path led to America’s Got Talent.

For his performance, he chose “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The moment he struck the first note, the judges knew that being inspiring was not the only thing Gonzalez brought that day.

He’s got heart and, most of all, he’s got talent.

YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - America's Got Talent

At the end of his performance, he explained that he wanted to show other veterans like him that they could still lead normal lives while pursuing their dreams.

He hopes that with his performance, he could inspire other veterans to keep on going.

Watch this veteran spark inspiration in a single performance below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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