//4 centenarian World Battle II veterans honored at Tremendous Bowl LIV

4 centenarian World Battle II veterans honored at Tremendous Bowl LIV

Within the 100th season of the NFL, 4 centenarian World War II veterans had been honored by collaborating within the Super Bowl LIV opening coin flip because the Kansas City Chiefs tackle the San Francisco 49ers.

Along with deciding what crew will get the ball first, the results of the flip was intently watched by gamblers throughout the nation who’ve cash on Tremendous Bowl proposition bets.

The 49ers gained the toss, and elected to defer; the Chiefs took the ball to begin the sport.


“By honoring these 4 veterans on the championship sport, the league is preserving the nationwide reminiscence of the Biggest Technology and World Battle II,’’ mentioned Holly Rotondi, government director of the Buddies of the Nationwide World Battle II Memorial.

Armed Forces veterans participate during the coin toss before the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Armed Forces veterans take part in the course of the coin toss earlier than the NFL Tremendous Bowl 54 soccer sport Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photograph/Morry Gash)

The 100-year-old veterans for the coin flip had been:

  1. Charles McGee — McGee flew 136 fight missions in World Battle II as a part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, attacking targets in Italy and supporting the rescue of 1,000 prisoners of struggle in Romania. He went on to develop into a colonel and fly in wars in Korea and Vietnam.
  2. Odon Cardenas — Cardenas fought in France and Germany as a part of the Third Military below the command of Gen. George Patton. He was captured within the late levels of the struggle in Germany, serving briefly as a prisoner of struggle earlier than being liberated.
  3. Samuel Lombardo — Lombardo served as a rifle platoon chief and firm government officer, combating in the Battle of the Bulge and different main campaigns within the last months of the struggle.
  4. Sidney Walton — Walton fought within the China, Burma and India theater after enlisting earlier than the struggle with the said want of taking down Adolf Hitler. He and his son, Paul, have been on a tour visiting each state to lift consciousness of the diminishing variety of WWII veterans and the sacrifices they made.

The veterans had been requested by the NFL to take part to honor each their army heritage and the 100th anniversary of the NFL as knowledgeable soccer league.

“It was fairly a thrill to be requested,’’ McGee mentioned. “I couldn’t say no.’’

Vets have already picked a favorite.

Sixty-two p.c of U.S. veterans mentioned they suppose the Chiefs will win the massive sport, in keeping with a blog post from Veterans United Dwelling Loans, which supplies residence loans and different home-buying instructional data for veterans. The remaining 38 p.c consider the 49ers will win.

Greater than 1,600 vets responded to the query posed by the corporate, which isn’t affiliated with the Division of Veterans Affairs.

“I simply hope for a superb sport, and good refereeing,’’ McGee added. “I’m trying ahead to seeing the coin after which seeing the sport.’’

McGee was residence on vacation in Chicago celebrating his 22nd birthday when Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, sending the nation into struggle.

He remembers vividly being within the automobile with others in his glee membership driving to carry out at a South Chicago church when President Franklin Roosevelt got here on the radio to announce the bombing.


A couple of years into the struggle he would be part of the one African-American pilot squadron coaching in segregated Tuskegee, Alabama.

He’s one of many final surviving airmen of the 996 pilots — 84 of whom misplaced their lives within the struggle — who skilled in Alabama.

“The Military coverage on the time was we didn’t have the brainpower and ethical fiber to develop into pilots,’’ he mentioned. “We dispelled that notion.’’

The Related Press contributed to this report.