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JFK silver dollar to be used for Army-Navy coin flip


It’s not often we mention let alone devote an entire post to a coin toss, but the circumstances surrounding the one coming up this weekend are certainly noteworthy.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, a Navy veteran and well-known lover of football, was scheduled to participate in the ceremonial coin toss prior to the Nov. 30 Army-Navy game.  On Nov. 22 of that year, Kennedy was gunned down by an assassin in Dallas.  While many thought the iconic rivalry game would/should be cancelled out of respect for the fallen president, JFK’s family insisted the game be played, which it did after a one-week postponement.

Now, shortly after the 50th anniversary of the assassination was observed, the spirit of what was a highly-anticipated moment will play out five decades later.

The silver dollar that was to be used by President Kennedy in that 1963 game will be utilized in the coin toss prior to Saturday’s Army-Navy game. That coin was sent 50 years ago to the captain of the winning side that day, Navy linebacker and captain Tom Lynch, by Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance.  The envelope with the JFK silver dollar enclosed also included a letter from 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

Five decades later, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will flip the coin that was to be used by President Kennedy in that 1963 game.  That coin, and the letter that accompanied it, appears below.

JFK Coin

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5 Responses to “JFK silver dollar to be used for Army-Navy coin flip”
  1. waynefontes says: Dec 9, 2013 9:49 AM

    That’s a cool story. Something that all fans of college football can agree on, which is a rarity.

  2. halbert53 says: Dec 9, 2013 10:09 AM

    Don’t know if Lynch is still alive or if his family is providing the coin, but in either case this is a classy act. He and/or his family should be honored guests at the game.

  3. raysfan1 says: Dec 9, 2013 10:33 AM

    Vice Admiral (retired) Lynch is still alive.

    Cyrus Vance, for those of us who remember him, was later Secretary of State under President Carter.

    1963 was, of course, also Roger Staubach’s Heisman Trophy season with the Midshipmen.

  4. thefiesty1 says: Dec 9, 2013 1:45 PM

    Wow. Very Good.

  5. fsu01 says: Dec 9, 2013 6:47 PM

    Great story and I must say that this is hands down best game in college football. I have been to Florida-Florida State and Florida State-Miami two awesome games in and of themselves. But when I attended the Army-Navy game in 1997 and it was in the 20′s and rainy and I was never cold that is how I knew. The tradition and honor of the two great academies was evident. This is a great game and every college football fan should go to this game at least once in their lifetime.

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