>> jimmy: i want to thank miley cyrus, marlon wayans. apologies to matt damon, we ran out of time. tomorrow night channing tatum, paul feig and music from pharrell. you can wake up early tomorrow to see her on "good morning america." playing us off the air with the song "fall down," from the album, "willpower" you can see the full performance at
jimmykimmellive.com. miley cyrus with will.i.am. ♪ ♪ you make my world you make my world go 'round you turn me up you turn me upside down ♪ñi ♪ you make my world you make my world go 'round you get me off you get me off the ground ♪ ♪ you pick me up when i fall down you pick me up when i fall down ♪
tonight, a soldier's story, we're with him as he risks his life for our country, but just wants to get home to his childhood sweetheart and the little girl he calls "angel". and inspired by nelson mandela, an american author, offering the greatest gifts to children who need it most. and another day of crisis and crackdowns in cairo, as egypt braces for tomorrow's expected protests. the president and his supporters rounded up the constitution. they were on the front
from new york city, this is "nightline" with terry moran. hello, everybody, and thank you for joining us on our nation's independence day, and honoring those who fought. and the drawdown in afghanistan, and the longest war america has waged, continues. tonight, we'll meet a father, a husband, a staff sergeant, and a man amazingly on the front lines, despite repeatedly cheating death. >> reporter: we're flying on a blackhawk helicopter, to a remote part of eastern afghanistan. the gunner's bullets are in
response to the taliban shooting at us down below. we come here to tell the story of the last americans fighting this longest american war. meet staff sergeant chad joiner, he should not be here, not on this patrol, not in afghanistan, in fact, he shouldn't even be alive. joiner has survived not one, not two, but seven roadside bombs like these, the deadly weapons that have claimed nearly 2500 american lives and injured thousands more in iraq and afghanistan. >> for the normal person, it is mindblowing. people don't understand it. i don't think there really is a way to paint of picture of what it is like. it shakes your whole body. and shakes you to the core. i mean, you feel the compression. you feel the shock waves. >> reporter: whatever the reason, joiner, miraculously is
still alive. >> god has a plan for me. there is an obvious reason why i'm still here. i don't know 100% what that reason is, but he obviously has something in store for me. >> reporter: we went along with sergeant joiner on one more mission. the day begins with an early morning briefing, loading up a 20-vehicle convoy for a day-long trip in the afghan sun. the mission? to find and destroy the bombs, the most dangerous highway in the country, connecting the capital, kandahar. as the americans pull out of the country thousands will need this highway to get home. riding shot gun, sergeant joiner. that is right, the man who survived seven ieds is out with us looking for more. so what is the first thing i need to know if i hear gunfire? >> if you hear gunfire hit the ground, that is the first thing you need to know.
>> ready? all right it. >> reporter: as we cross the wire, driving out from the base. >> the big concern we have here, looking at the culverts to place the ieds, it is really accessible for them. >> reporter: around us, the wreckage. at first, you might think that sergeant joiner is crazy, you know, an adrenalin junky with a death wish. but the more you get to know him, you realize he is as normal as you can get. >> i totally grew up in small town america. >> reporter: his hometown, cody, wyoming, a place where you find a parade on the fourth of july, complete with american flags waving in the wind. >> i love how everybody knows everybody.
it is just a great home feeling. >> reporter: just after the 911 attacks, joiner signed up for the army. and over his next three deployments to iraq he drove over an ied several different times. he was featured in this american forces video, after he drove over the ied that left him with a brain injury so serious he couldn't even write his own name. joiner spent six months in rehab, his wife and high school sweetheart, kelly, by his time the whole time. >> he is the one that has the injuries we don't notice. >> reporter: just as he made the recovery, life threw him a different twist. >> yes, that is my sweatheart, she is my world. >> reporter: chad fell in love once again. >> she is just a little entertainer, she is my life, i love my little girl. >> reporter: with the injuries, chad could have left the army and found another job, but he
didn't. as soon as he could, he signed up for another job. >> the biggest thing is the door bell ringing, i don't want to lose him, i think that is more scary, him coming home empty. >> reporter: back in afghanistan, on the mission we get a call on the radio. >> unit off to the west found an ied they want us to clear. >> we're taking a route, the bullets, back there they found an ied. >> reporter: as we arrive on the scene, other armored vehicles are already there. on the top of the hill, they detonate a road bomb to blow up the ied. and it goes sky high. and the danger doesn't stop there. moments later we're patrolling on foot. >> there is always a sense of ner nervousness that keeps you on your toes. if you're not nervous, there is something wrong.
>> reporter: with soldiers taking aim in the distance and bomb-sniffing dogs racing ahead? >> all right, so far, so good. >> if we don't put it there, we don't mess with it. we watch where we're walking at all times. >> reporter: we left the armored convoy, the soldiers here are checking for explosives, and then we'll try to enter the village. before we get there, the captain warns us of a new threat. >> small arms fire, ied, right now watch where you step and then watch everywhere else you step. >> reporter: the villagers admit to us that the taliban sometimes use these fields to plant bombs. >> i appreciate your time. >> reporter: and as we jump back into our convoy, sergeant joiner is grateful knowing he survived another day, his 1,129th day living in a war zone. you know, seven is a lucky number, do you ever worry about
number eight? >> you know, nobody has ever brought that to my attention so i can thank you for that. so no, nobody has ever said that. >> reporter: as we drive back to the base, all he can think of is just one thing. >> i am looking forward to going home, seeing my little girl, give her a big hug. >> reporter: and after a ten-hour mission, for a brief moment we forget about the war. singing all the way back to base. ♪ ♪ sweet home alabama, i'm coming home. >> reporter: for "nightline," in eastern afghanistan. one of our american heroes, thanks to mohammed lila, and for the armed forces for technical assistance on that story. next up, we'll travel to south africa and meet an american who has also made a remarkable sacrifice and is giving back. abc news "nightline" brought to
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lila, l . with nelson mandela still in a south african hospital in critical condition, the final chapter of his life is being written, but his legacy as an inspiration to the country and the world is indelible, going all around the world, and to one american lawyer who heard him speak years ago. that moment changed his life. and in time, young south africans he has helped. here is byron pitts.
>> reporter: for children by the hundreds, living in the ghettos of the south african township of soweto, prayers for a better life are being answered by this man. >> come up here quickly. >> reporter: jose bright, an american lawyer from compton, california. >> i have been here eight years, this is home. >> reporter: he has an african name the locals gave him. roughly translated, it means a gift from god. most of the students ages eight to 18 are orphans, many of them have lost parents who died of aids. kids like 17-year-old elizabeth. her mother and sister died from aids. she lives in the small house with her grandmother and five
other relatives. their life is lean, certain people share one table with seven chairs. they use this to heat the house. it is winter in south africa. there is a bright circle, she says, thanks to the american who came into her life. >> i always smile when i see him. the only reason that makes me wake up in the morning and go to school is because mr. bright is there. >> i wish people could see what i see every day, how brave these young people are to walk so far on an empty stomach because they want to get an education. >> for many, this is the only meal they have, yes? >> absolutely, it breaks my heart sometimes to know that children who come on a saturday to get extra classes because they now value the quality of an education.
>> reporter: the menu, the day we visited, beans, corn, and potatoes. children here don't complain, don't ask for seconds. theirs is a measure of gratitude and determination that defy the hardships. >> they call this the freedom generation. >> reporter: that is how jose bright and many here refer to the south african children, most especially in soweto. here, the apartheid was the worst, where the people rebelled in 1976. here is where nelson mandela first defied the government. and it is here that jose bright believes he is making a difference. >> this is a country where 70% of the adults are unemployed, nationwide, 30%. has one of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. absolutely, and only less than a
third of the population have a high school diploma. but all i can talk about is one child at a time. most of these children were failing in public school, deemed unteachable and unwanted. hiv aids is still a badge of shame in south africa. for those stricken by the virus and their children. in jose bright's school, those children are encouraged and the results speak for themselves. >> in 12 years, we have had 100% pass rate. in 12 years, none of our girls have fallen pregnant, in 12 years, none of our children have been involved in the criminal justice system. >> reporter: oh, you're an optimist? >> i have no choice, i have to be an optimist, because i see the miracle unfolding. >> reporter: many of his students go on to college. out of his classes come teachers, lawyers. >> i want to be a teacher and an adviser. he makes us see the world as a better place. so for him, he is like our
father. >> reporter: but with a country this big, with so many problems, one man can do so much as we were painfully reminded as we stood in the kitchen with elizabeth after school. your only meal was the one you had in school? >> yes. >> reporter: how often does that happen? talk to me. >> just it -- it hurts me to see us not having food today. i don't think about myself at all. but i think about my grandmother a lot. she is the only person i think about all day, if we don't have food here at the house. because -- she is my everything.
>> reporter: tonight in soweto, there are children by the thousands like elizabeth. her dream, she told us, college, a career, and to "take myself far." it is a dream that may not be deferred, because of one american who heard nelson mandela's call and answered. for "nightline," byron ñipitts, soweto. >> one man making a difference, thank you very much to byron pitts for that. and next up, we'll update you on the crackdown in egypt, and big protests. we're on scene. ing. there's only two of us... how much dirt can we manufacture? more than you think. very little. [ doorbell rings ] [ lee ] let's have a look, morty. it's a sweeper. what's this? what's that? well we'll find out. we'll find out. [ lee ] it goes under all the way to the back wall. i came in under the assumption that it was clean. i've been living in a fool's paradise! oh boy... there you go... morty just summed it up. the next 44 years we'll be fine.
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in that nation of 85 million people has deepened. the democratically elected president and his supporters have been rounded up by the military. the constitution suspended, the streets of cairo still filled with people, and now the country bracing for new protests called for tomorrow. nbc has been covering this amazing story right from the start in cairo. and he joins us now, first, tell us what it feels like today. is this a country on the edge of civil war, perhaps? >> reporter: good evening, there are really two egypts, the one you see behind me right here, on tahrir square, the birth place of the revolution two years ago. there is absolute jubilation since president morsi stepped down, it feels like our own independence day. they have laser pointers, and
president morsi still commands a huge level of support, the people who are not out here in the square. the more conservative muslims who live out on the countryside. and today, a top official said it is called a military coup, would invite violence in the coming days. and tomorrow, the muslim brotherhood and their allies are planning protest s against the military that they are calling a friday objection, they want to keep it peaceful here, but things are very tense. >> the military has taken over, so what are they doing now to try to clamp down on the violence? >> reporter: well, from the appearances, it looks like they're trying to decapitate the leader of the muslim brotherhood, which is president morsi's party. they have also issued arrest won't warrants for some 300 members of the party. we're getting the feeling they're trying to regroup and we're waiting to see awwhat
happens. >> so alex, the united states is a key ally in keeping whatever is left of stability in the middle east. is there anything the u.s. can do at all? or are we just going to stand by and watch it happen? >> reporter: well, it is a very sensitive issue for the u.s., they have stayed away, staying away from calling it a military coup, because that has certain implications. egypt gets large amounts of funding, $1.6 billion a year, 1.3 million of which goes to the military. today, we saw them swear in an interim president, the top constitutional judge here in egypt. but everyone knows where the real power lies, and that is with the military. >> all right, alex, stay safe, i know you will be on the story for us there all day. abc news will have continuing