President Kennedy at the 1962 Army-Navy game. (Neil Leifer/SI)
John F. Kennedy was scheduled to flip the coin before the Army-Navy game in 1963, but for reasons obvious and awful he was unable to make it to the December 7 tilt in Philadelphia to do the honors. His intended role was not forgotten, however, and during the pre-game ceremonies of this year's Army-Navy game yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, the same silver dollar that Kennedy would have tossed 50 years ago went airborne.
So where has the coin been for the past half-century? Two weeks after Kennedy's assassination, the Secretary of the Army Cyrus R. Vance sent it to the captain of Navy's football team, guard/linebacker Tom Lynch, as a memento from an incredible game. Said Lynch:
“I had the coin in my possession for 50 years and that was long enough. 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."
Navy then did its part to honor the gesture by trouncing Army 34-7.