Silver dollar with amazing story to be used in Army-Navy game
Fifty years ago, the annual Army-Navy rivalry game — the first game to feature instant replay on TV — was played a week late and under the most somber of circumstances following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Now this weekend, five decades after Kennedy’s tragic and untimely death, the late commander in chief will be honored when the Black Knights and Midshipmen take the field in Philadelphia with a pregame coin toss featuring a very special silver dollar.
According to the Capital Gazette, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will perform the ceremonial coin toss on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field using the original coin intended for Kennedy’s coin toss at the 1963 game at Memorial Stadium.
For the last 50 years, the Lady Liberty silver dollar had been in the possession of Tom Lynch, a senior offensive guard and linebacker on the 1963 Navy team. Lynch told the Capital Gazette that he received the coin in the mail a week after the 1963 game (which Navy won) along with the following note:
9 December 1963
Dear Midshipman Lynch,
I am forwarding the coin which the late President Kennedy would have used and would have presented to you had he made the toss of the coin at the Army-Navy football game this year. Please accept this memento of a memorable football game.
With best wishes,
Sincerely, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of the Army
Over the course of his own 31-year career in the Navy, Lynch would rise to the rank of rear admiral. This year, feeling so moved by the attention surrounding the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, he decided to donate the coin — which he had kept framed, along with the letter — to the Naval Academy.
"I had the coin in my possession for 50 years and that was long enough," Lynch told the Capital Gazette. "That’s a piece of Army-Navy game history and I just felt it would be meaningful to give that coin back to the Naval Academy so it could be seen publicly from now on."
The plan is to eventually put the coin in the Navy Football Hall of Fame — but before that, thanks to Lynch, the coin will finally be used as Kennedy intended. A very cool tribute, indeed.
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