Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Life Remembered - John Lennon

It was nearly 30 years ago today... Sgt. Pepper asked the band not to play, but to observe a moment of silence.

John Lennon had been murdered.  His voice forever silenced.

While the details of that tragic night need not be restated here, I wanted to recall my still vivid memories of that evening.

I was in the U.S. Navy, about a month out of Boot Camp and just completed my Basic Electricity and Electronics courses in Orlando, Florida.  I was out with some friends, celebrating and drinking at the club on base (I was under-21, but drinking alcohol was - and still is - legal on base for all military personnel).

Around 11PM, I stumbled back to my barracks.  In the morning I was shipping out to Naval Station Great Lakes outside of Chicago to continue my schooling.  I turned on the radio to listen to the news (I've been listening to all-talk/news radio since I was little boy as an aid in sleeping).

I staggered into the bathroom on the left, flipped on the light and began to pee.  Over the radio I heard the breaking news that John Lennon has been shot and that he was being rushed to the hospital.  In my current state, I only half heard it and only a quarter comprehended it.

After undressing, I climbed up into my top bunk a few minutes later.  The breaking news was now updated to report that John Lennon had died.  I quietly cried myself to sleep.

This entire incident only took about 15 minutes.  

The next morning when I awoke, my nightmares had been confirmed: John Lennon was dead.  It touched me very deeply as this was the first of MY icons to die.  While Elvis had died a few years early, he belonged to a different generation, but John was mine.

As I sit here now 30 years later, on what would have been his 70th Birthday - listening, enjoying and pondering his music (as I will again in two months ago on the anniversary of that tragic and senseless day), I want to again remember his legacy and his words.  While he was considered by some to be a radical, he was poet who more than anything else, proffered peace and love.

I can think of no better final thought than to remind you all of the lyrics to "Imagine":

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

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