The NFL is celebrating 100 years of football, so, on Super Bowl Sunday, the league invited four World War II veterans who are all 100 years old to take part in the coin toss, including a San Diego native.
Sidney Walton was born on Feb. 11, 1919.
Walton fought in WWII with the stated desire of taking down Adolf Hitler. He and his son, Paul, have been on a tour visiting every state to raise awareness of the diminishing number of WWII veterans and the sacrifices they made.
The other 100-year-old veterans who joined Walton for the coin flip were:
Odon Cardenas who fought in France and Germany as part of the Third Army under the command of Gen. George Patton. He was captured in the late stages of the war in Germany, serving briefly as a prisoner of war before being liberated.
Samuel Lombardo served as a rifle platoon leader and company executive officer, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and other major campaigns in the final months of the war.
Charles McGee flew 136 combat missions in World War II as part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, attacking targets in Italy and supporting the rescue of 1,000 prisoners of war in Romania. He went on to become a colonel and fly in wars in Korea and Vietnam.
They were asked by the NFL to participate to honor both their military heritage and the 100th anniversary of the NFL as a professional football league.
“By honoring these four veterans at the championship game, the league is preserving the national memory of the Greatest Generation and World War II,’’ said Holly Rotondi, executive director of the Friends of the National World War II Memorial.
Walton's family shared photos with NBC 7 of the veteran enjoying his moment at the Super Bowl. He grinned from ear to ear.
See those snapshots below.