MIAMI — A former Staff Sergeant from San Antonio who served during World War II was among several veterans honored during the coin toss Sunday during Super Bowl LIV.
Staff Sgt. Odón Cardenas was joined on the field by one of his sons, former Sgt. Raul Cardenas, a Gulf War veteran, according to a press release from the U.S. Army.
Cardenas received an invitation from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last month to join the league in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The commissioner's letter noted that the Staff Sargeant and the NFL are both celebrating their 100th birthday and that Goodell was "humbled to read of [Staff Sgt. Cardenas'] sacrifices and accomplishments" during the war.
According to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Council honored Staff Sgt. Cardenas during his 100th birthday in August of last year.
"#MilitaryCityUSA needs to get loud when Staff Sgt. Cardenas is on the big screen for the big game!" the mayor wrote on social media.
According to the U.S. Army, Staff Sgt. Cardenas enlisted in the military nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the 172 Battalion, Company C as a squad leader, where he led his unit in providing support during the Battle of the Bulge.
During the battle, his unit was ambushed by German forces, and Cardenas was taken prisoner some time later. He was held in a prisoner of war camp near Dusseldorf, Germany for nearly two weeks before American forces liberated the camp.
Staff Sgt. Cardenas was honorably discharged in October 1945. According to the U.S. Army, he currently resides in San Antonio.
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