As the NFL celebrates its 100th season, the commission has asked four 100-year-old World War II veterans to join in on the Super Bowl festivities.
The men will be honored for their service but will also play a special role at Sunday night's game. They are taking part in the official on-field coin toss ceremony before the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LIV game, the NFL announced on Friday.
Col. Charles E. McGee, will flip the coin, and be surrounded by Staff Sgt. Odón Sanchez Cardenas, Lt. Col. Samuel Lombardo and Cpl. Sidney Walton.
"As we culminate the NFL's 100th season, we're extremely proud to honor four World War II veterans celebrating 100 years of life," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a press release.
"These four men deserve our gratitude for their tremendous contributions to the United States of America and we're thrilled to recognize their service on the country's largest stage."
McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and enlisted in the US Army in 1942. He became a part of the Tuskegee Airmen after receiving his pilot's wings in 1943. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the US service corps. During his military career, he flew tactical missions attacking enemy airfields and top secret rescue missions. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. In December, he received an honorary promotion to Brigadier General.
Cardenas lives in San Antonio, Texas, and started his service in the US Army in 1941. He was deployed to France in 1944 then was moved to Belgium and Germany, according to the press release. He became a POW on March 14, 1945 when he was captured, along with others, after being attacked by German opposition. Cardenas was soon liberated and returned to the US on April 28, 1945. Among his awards, he received an American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and three Bronze Stars for his service. He received an honorable discharge in October 1945.
Lombardo was born in Italy in 1919 but moved to the US with his family in 1929, where they settled in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In 1939, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard and later became a commissioned officer. He went on to serve in the 99th Infantry Division as Rifle Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer during the Battle of the Bulge, Remagen Bridgehead, Ruhr Pocket, and Central European Campaigns, according to the press release. Lombardo received a Silver Star and Bronze Star with valor for his heroic actions during WWII.
Walton was born in New York City and enlisted in the Army in 1941. He was sent to India and served in the China-Burma-India Theater, rising to the rank of corporal. After the war, he worked for the government as a chemical engineer. Walton is currently touring the nation on his "No Regrets Tour," raising awareness for WWII veterans and giving people across the country the chance to meet one of the last living veterans of that war.
Super Bowl LIV is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET.