Sergeant Rick Clement, a British soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan, will lay a wreath in honour of fallen comrades on Remembrance Day on Sunday (8 November). He will attempt to walk on his prosthetic limbs unaided for the first time for a distance of 10 metres.
Rick Clement, from Blackpool, Lancashire, stepped on a landmine in 2010 while serving as a sergeant with the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in Afghanistan. He spent months in hospital recovering, while also learning to walk on prosthetic legs.
"The blast took both of my legs (and caused) a lot of internal injuries and damage to the genital area which left me unable to have children," he told Sky News about the tragic incident. "It was catastrophic and I'm lucky to be here," he added.
"There were struggling times in hospital in the first few months when I thought that was the end of life as I knew it and I would need to be looked after the rest of my life… But thankfully with the support of my family and friends and all the military guys, who are another family, I managed to get through it okay."
The soldier will pay respects to his close friends Jordan, Nigel, Taggi and Rocco, who were killed in service in Afghanistan. "I use them as inspiration for me to get out of bed and carry on," he said
"They'll probably be up there hoping I'll trip over so they can have a good laugh, to be fair. I hope they'll be very proud, definitely," saying that taking his few steps to honour those who paid the 'ultimate sacrifice' means the world to him.
In a letter published on the Mirror explains why it's important to take the time to remember and honour fallen soldiers:
On Sunday I will be walking using my prosthetic limbs for the very first time. It will be a big day.
This very short walk, just 10 metres, to lay a wreath is significant as it is my way of showing my respect on Remembrance Day to four of my friends who passed away.
It is also my way of paying respect to all of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I think about my pals all the time. I have a bench in my garden with all their names – Jordan, Nigel, Taggi and Rocco – on it and I have tattoos of their dog collars on my arms and back.
When I think about them it helps me not to feel too sorry for myself because, despite my injuries, I do consider myself lucky to have made it back from Afghanistan.
When I lost my legs I managed to stay conscious in the minutes afterwards. I don't recall feeling any pain. I was aware I had been hit but I only realised how badly I'd been hurt when the guys started running over to treat me.
Tomorrow, like most days, those memories will be clear in my mind but I will breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Yes, I've lost my legs but I'm sure my friends – and all the servicemen and women we remember – would have swapped places with me to be with their families like I am.
Tomorrow is one of the most emotional days of the year for everyone who has served or is serving in the forces. It brings home the huge amount of sacrifices made by men and women willing to put their lives on the line for others. I'm still here and that's why I am determined to walk to lay my wreath, in tribute. I am lucky to have survived and I owe it to those who didn't to make the best of my life.
The people of Britain always go out to show their respects and I'm extremely glad they do. It means a lot to guys like me who have lost friends and have been injured.
I don't think anyone takes it for granted. What happens tomorrow is important because we all stop and remember for a few minutes.
I have a simple dream, to be able to walk. I think a lot of people will be watching. There will be my family, my parents and a few of my military friends I've served with.
I'm doing this for all those who helped save my life and gave me this chance. It's something I can never repay and I hope it gives inspiration to others.
For me, that is what Remembrance Day is about and it is why people should pay their respects on Sunday.