WATCH: Nebraska Football Debuts Powerful Tribute To Service Members and First Responders

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Nebraska football team, featuring its own former Navy SEAL, released an emotional, patriotic video to salute the nation’s troops and first responders.

And the star of the production was Cornhusker outside linebacker Damian Jackson, who served four years as a Navy SEAL. Jackson, wearing a No. 21 jersey, is slowly walking down a street, alone in the video, as he carries the U.S. flag with his right arm.

Then the video shows Nebraska football fans falling in behind him. The music swells as more fans join the parade. Soon, we see that Jackson is approaching an Army veteran, who is on crutches. He’s an amputee. There are first responders with the veteran. You can see a policeman and a fireman. There’s also a doctor.

Jackson and the Army vet meet. The Nebraska football player takes off his helmet and salutes a fellow veteran. Then, the video shows old footage of an honor guard walking the halls of the Nebraska football office as they head towards the tunnel and out onto the field at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The first responders are there as well as the crowd applauds.

Nebraska football posted the video on Twitter this week. The Cornhusker account wrote: “To all current & former service members & all first responders, thank you.”

Who Is Nebraska Football Player Damian Jackson?

The Nebraska football team is known for its walk-ons. Jackson started off as a non-scholarship player with an interesting background. He never played high school football when he was growing up in Las Vegas. He graduated from high school in 2010 and enlisted in the Navy, just like his older brother.

After his release, he wrote to every Division I program in the country. Nebraska football was the first to respond. Jackson was an intriguing prospect solely because he was a Navy SEAL. Jackson went through six months of SEAL training. He was a powerful 6-2, 270 pounds. Plus, as a SEAL, a football coach knew he had terrific leadership skills as well as athleticism. As a SEAL, he was a Lead Breacher, who specialized in explosives and obstruction removal.

Jackson arrived in Lincoln as a 24-year-old freshman. By the fall of 2020, he earned a scholarship. He started out as a defensive lineman, then moved to linebacker. The Nebraska football coaches eventually used Jackson to lead the drills for the newer players.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Linebackers coach Mike Dawson described how Jackson quickly earned the respect of his teammates.

“He’s got a unique situation,” Dawson said. “If he had spent six years backpacking Europe and then came back, I don’t know that he would command that. But I think we all know what he’s done and what he’s been about. That’s where he’s going to command that kind of respect immediately.”

Jackson also posted a photo from the Nebraska football video tribute on his Instagram account.

Nebraska football fans loved it. One wrote: “The video gave me chills. US. Thank you for your service Damian and carrying Old Glory proudly.”