Today in NC State History: A game played in Kennedy’s honor

November 22, 2013
By Bill Krueger

historyIconWhen the news of the assassination of President Kennedy reached the NC State campus on this day in 1963, the reaction was one of horror and disbelief.

Many students were in class on that Friday, while others were already getting ready for the final home football game of the season — a Friday night clash against Wake Forest.

As the news started to break, students rushed to the Union or their dormitories to gather around television sets “to listen in disbelief as the confirmation of the President’s death was announced,” according to a story in The Technician.

At 5 p.m., the Memorial Bell Tower played the national anthem. University officials announced that the game that evening would go on as planned, and be played in memory of Kennedy.

Not surprisingly, there was a somber tone to the game. The bands from the two schools took the field “at a funeral cadence, not the customary excited pace,” according to a story in The Technician.

KennedyChancellor John T. Caldwell spoke to the crowd before the game began. “This is a day of deep tragedy for our nation and all mankind,” he said. “Let not the playing of this game tonight diminish our sense of respect for our great departed President and the office he held.”

Then, following a moment of silence, Caldwell read the last stanza of the national anthem.

NC State went on to win the football game, 42-0, to assure itself of a tie for the ACC title. All university classes were suspended between 11 a.m and 1 p.m. the following Monday.

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