Odón Sanchez Cardenas was born July 30, 1919 in Devine, Texas. He spent most of his childhood in Shakopee, Minnesota, as a sugar beet farmer, along with his five siblings.
As a first generation American, Cardenas felt the need to give back and serve his country and enlisted in the Army. During his initial days in service, Cardenas served as a private first class at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He was later promoted to staff sergeant and squad leader, which caused him to be re-assigned to a battalion in California. His battalion deployed to the European Theater of Operations in November 1944.
During an attack by German forces on the front lines, their military captured Cardenas. The Germans took Cardenas as a prisoner of war, where he was held in multiple camps. He was liberated two weeks later in events that are now known as the Battle of the Bulge.
During his military service, Cardenas was awarded the American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and a European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with Three Bronze stars.
Cardenas lived a wonderful life alongside his wife (who has since passed away), 10 children, 18 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He enjoys sightseeing, Polka music, thrift shopping, maintaining an active outdoor lifestyle and staying involved in his community.
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Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Writer: Harshini Ravi
Editor: Caroline Pellegrini
Graphic artist: Robert McPherson