The silver dollar that was to be flipped by President John F. Kennedy at the 1963 Army-Navy game in Philadelphia will be used for the coin toss 50 years later at the 2013 Army-Navy game on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963, eight days before he was scheduled to participate in the ceremonial coin toss on Nov. 30 in Philadelphia at the Army-Navy game.
Though fans had been anticipating the Army-Navy game for months, it would have been cancelled had it not been for the late president’s family insisting that President Kennedy would have wanted it played and on Nov. 26 the Pentagon announced that following a one-week postponement, Army-Navy would take place on Dec. 7.
The game was a classic with Navy (9-1) edging Army (7-3), 21-15, thanks to three touchdowns by Navy fullback Pat Donnelly. Army had the ball at the Navy two-yard line when time ran out.
A week after the win, an envelope showed up in the mailbox of Navy captain Tom Lynch. When he opened it, he found a silver dollar. Accompanying the coin was a letter from Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance.
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,
Cyrus R. Vance
Secretary of the Army
On Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will have the honor of flipping that same coin.