Trump Embraces Wheelchair-Bound Wounded Afghanistan Veteran
Display of affection from the president at ceremony
President Donald Trump embraced a wheelchair-bound and wounded veteran from Afghanistan who sang 'God Bless America' during a ceremony honoring the new incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The emotional moment which saw Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff present.
Avila was leading a search and rescue mission in Afghanistan when a 600-pound improvised explosive device detonated underneath his vehicle in 2011.
The explosion severely wounded Avila and killed three others.
Avila suffered two heart attacks and two strokes, along with a severe lack of oxygen which caused anoxic brain damage.
His injuries left him almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
The Veteran's leg was also amputated, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
After spending 40 days in a coma, Avila finally woke up.
He used music therapy in his recovery and was the featured singer for the ceremony honoring Milley's appointment and Dunford's retirement after more than four decades in the Marine Corps.
Milley joined Trump along with others to hear Avila sing at the end of the ceremony.
During the song, Trump gave Avila his signature thumbs-up sign.
When Avila finished his solo, Trump joined in singing another verse.
Once the song was finished, Trump walked over to Avila and gave him a big emotional hug to him and his wife Claudia, who appeared to be holding back tears.
The rest of his national security team also hugged Avila.
Dunford paid tribute to Avila and other wounded veterans at the beginning of the ceremony.
"At the end of this ceremony, you will hear Army Captain Luis Avila sing a tribute to America."
"Captain Avila was seriously wounded in action and today represents all of the wounded warriors and killed in action of our military."
"Both our friends and enemies alike should know that we who wear the uniform of the United States of America, the cloth of our nation, we are all Captain Avilas," Dunford said.
During the 2017 National Memorial Day Concert, Avila also performed 'God Bless America.'