Sal Gonzalez, Jr.
Wounded Warrior Project
August 24, 2013
8:45 - 9:30, Main Auditorium

Music plays such an important role in Sal Gonzalez’s life. He seems to have a song for every occasion. On any given day, you could find him strumming along to Eric Church’s Love Your Love the Most, Lee Brice’s A Woman Like You, or Garth Brooks’ More Than a Memory.

That love of music has helped Sal persevere through some tough trials, like his parents’ divorce and his emotional reaction to the events of 9/11.

“That tragedy inspired me to join the military,” says Sal. “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.”

Sal joined the Marines on October 21, 2003 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines as a machine gunner. A year later, he found himself in Ramadi, Iraq, asked to “give back” much more for his country than he anticipated.

“I was hit by an IED and was in a coma for about a week,” says Sal. “I woke up at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Months later my left leg was amputated below the knee.”

Sal now utilizes a prosthetic leg, which he says hasn’t impacted his daily life too much. He tries to exercise every day to keep his weight down. And nothing will stop him from making music.

“I work on writing songs every afternoon. Playing and writing music has always been my passion, and luckily my injury has not affected that at all. I’m always striving to improve and earn that next standing ovation – which I’ve been lucky to have had many in my career.”

His next goal: a record deal.

“That would be the icing on the cake. But you can never forget that life has inspiration all around us. Just look at all the Wounded Warriors who are such good role models. Those are the men and women I admire most.”