There will be many tributes in honor of Joe Paterno, his wife, and family but I would like to see the Alumni, the student body, and loving fans participate in one special tribute – and where else but in Beaver Stadium.
Instead of candles or a moment of silence, I think a special tribute in Beaver Stadium should consist of a period of thunderous cheering and applause in celebration of what JoePa meant and still means to everyone associated with Penn State University.
Sure, there will be a handful of speeches by players past and present and a prayer here and there but the focus should be that of a celebration.
Maybe there could even be a flyover of a military aircraft unit – Air National Guard or an active military unit.
Also, maybe each person in attendance could be asked to bring one or two non-perishable food items, i.e. canned food that will be donated to a local food bank in JoePa’s honor. A lot of needy people can be helped by a donation of 100,000+ items of food. Make the “food donation” the ticket to the celebration.
A few short weeks ago I saw a celebration at Oklahoma State where fans packed into a basketball stadium were asked to, instead of a moment of silence, to stand and applaud their coach and assistant coach, Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna, who were killed in a small aircraft accident.
That celebration was incredibly moving and it shifted the night from a somber mourning into an all out celebration of applause, cheering, and clapping – a celebration of two lives instead of simply a quiet moment of silence.
PSU fans are used to victories and celebration – make this one louder than any victory celebration ever seen or heard at Beaver Stadium. I do not know if waves are passé at games at Beaver Stadium but a couple of rolling waves done by the 90,000+ in attendance might be a nice touch and the tribute could finish with some type of sing-a-long for JoePa – something like “All we are saying is give peace a chance” or “Amazing Grace.” or another song that might be more appropriate.
Let everyone leave smiling – remembering JoePa for all the wonderful things he did for PSU and students.