When this brave former U.S. marine took the stage on America’s Got Talent, he told a moving story that brought the audience to tears.
Sal Gonzalez, a contestant in America’s Got Talent Season 9, lives in Nashville, and is a volunteer with the Wounded Warrior Project.
The audience gave him a standing ovation upon hearing that he once served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
But what he revealed next left the audience in shock.
“I do a good job at hiding them,” said Gonzalez, as he unveiled his prosthetic leg.
He explained he joined the Marine Corps right after high school. In 2004, he was deployed overseas as a machine gunner under the 2nd Battalion in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After serving in Iraq for two months, he lost part of his leg in a roadside explosion.
Following the devastating life-changing accident, he was in a coma for a week and spent a year rehabilitating in the hospital. During his agonizing recovery process, he relied on music to pull himself through.
“Having music as a tool for my recovery, I was able to put down and let go of a lot of pain,” Gonzalez said. “It kept me going. It kept me alive.”
His story moved the audience, his singing too. Gonzalez flawlessly performed a rendition of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.
Through his performance, Gonzalez hopes to inspire other wounded veterans. “I want to show other warriors it’s possible to follow your dreams and be normal,” the aspiring singer said.
He earned four yes votes from the judges for not only his wonderful performance, but for being an inspiration as well.
“You are very, very inspirational. You can sing!” judge Mel B commented.
“A young guy like yourself, to sacrifice his leg, give to his country. How can you not be moved by that?” judge Howard Stern concurred.
“There are millions of people at home watching you, I am truly moved, I know the audience in this room was moved as were the people in America,” judge Howie Mandel said.
Despite missing one leg, Gonzalez thinks “it’s a mild inconvenience,” he previously told WAFB.
He remains positive and tries to live each day reaching out to other struggling wounded warriors, encouraging them to readjust to normal civilian life.
“They may be home physically, but they’re not home mentally,” said Gonzalez. “I know what that feels like.”
“You can live with it. You can go past it and you can better yourself,” he added.
Thank you Gonzalez for your service.
Check out Gonzalez’s performance in the video below: