No Ordinary Joe
Joe Paterno, Penn State's legendary football coach, passed away yesterday. He was 85 years old.
I was on campus this morning. Before my first meeting, I visited the Joe Paterno statue by Beaver Stadium. This is a photo of the statue, draped with an American flag, various items of Penn State clothing, and (dangling from his left hand - you can barely see it) a rosary.
On the ground in front of the statue are offerings left by the Penn State faithful: footballs, clothing, candles (some still lit), photographs, stuffed animals, letters, poems, and signs.
On campus, the snow around Old Main (Penn State's chief administrative building) was trampled flat and slick by the feet of the thousands of people who attended last night's candle-light vigil there. A red votive had been placed in the center of the armillary sphere.
Candles had been left on the steps of Old Main, and candle wax in various shades of blue and red had left blood-like stains in the snow.
Further across campus, a single bouquet of flowers graced the Nittany Lion Shrine.
You can't see the words behind the statue in this picture, so I've retyped them here.
"They ask me what I'd like written about me. When I'm gone, I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach." - Joe Paterno.
Farewell from one of Penn State's faithful to what was most certainly no ordinary Joe.
Paterno series, 1 of 4; see also photos from January 24, 25, and 26.