JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At no point in his interview does Tyler Southern slip into discouragement about himself or the United States.
According to the hometown hero, the United States will win against the terrorists. Southern has three years of military service on his record and a traumatic injury to prove his patriotism. He's a triple amputee, almost killed in Afghanistan.
MORE: Sept. 11 section
Southern will be honored at the Jaguars' home game to open the season this Sunday. Around the third quarter, on the field there will be a special presentation.
Monday, Tyler will have more hand surgery at Mayo Clinic.
PICTURES: Tyler Southern's Wedding
PICTURES: Tyler Southern's House under Construction
Southern, speaking two days before the 2011 commemoration of 9/11, remembered the day the terrorists attacked. He was 12 watching the towers fall on TV in school, he said, but back then he couldn't appreciate the enormity of the event.
Southern said the 9/11 services this weekend bring up "sad" feelings because he wants to be back on the battlefront. He was a specialist in blowing up buildings occupied by the Taliban.
Now in rehab in Bethesda, he is ready to train in public affairs for the military, but he said about those lost on 9/11, "I hope I did something in my career to bring that to justice."
And he believes he did. After he stepped on an IED, the procedures for his platoon changed and the military figured out the Taliban was trying to maim, rather than kill, U.S. soldiers.
Pressure plates, or triggers, for IEDs were typically under shallow dirt. They would target the soldiers behind the one who stepped on the pressure plate.
But the IED he stepped on almost killed him when it blew up right underneath him. So he believes his sacrifice likely saved other lives when his platoon figured out new tactics by the enemy.
If you'd like to honor Tyler, go by the Ashley Furniture Stores at Orange Park or the Town Center, and sign the walls which will go into his new home. Many folks are writing their messages of support.
You can also give a donation towards furniture for Tyler's new home and Ashley Furniture will match it.
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