Former Army Ranger Cedric King lost his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device while serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan — but in a video that aired during Tuesday night's Concert for Valor, he delivered a message of strength to his attackers.
"I want to send a message to those guys that meant to hurt me. Instead of hurting me, you made me better. Instead of taking my legs away, you gave me so much more to live for," King said in the video that aired on the National Mall in front of thousands.
WATCH: Former Army Ranger delivers message of strength to his attackers:
The former Army Ranger, who achieved the rank of master sergeant, served multiple tours of duty abroad before he was wounded in 2012. In the weeks after, he said he had moments where he felt it would have been better if he had just died during the explosion.
"But my heart was saying, 'Hey man, there's so much good to give,'" King said. "'If you can just get out of this hospital bed, you can probably be pretty inspiring to other people man. Keep fighting.'"
After 26 months of grueling rehab, King competed in a half-ironman — 70.3 miles.
"I'm not supposed to be swimming 1.2, with no legs," he said. "But guess what? I'm gonna do it."
[sharequote align="right"]"You can take my hands, you can take my eyes...but what you cannot take away from me is that spirit inside of me..."[/sharequote]
King revealed that when he was a child, he was often picked on. He said that he saw his environment as one he was a prisoner of.
"In the military, I learned that possibilities in life are what you create. What you choose to see," the former Army Ranger said. "I met failure time and time and time and time and time again."
"You can take my hands, you can take my eyes, you can take my hearing, but what you cannot take away from me is that spirit inside of me that wants to win," King said. "That's something that little boy that used to get picked on didn't know."
First lady Michelle Obama said in the video that she had a chance to meet King at the White House and noted he "embodies the incredible resilience and strength of all our wounded warriors."
After the video documenting King's journey aired during the Tuesday's Concert for Valor, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
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