December 8, 1980 – Why It Is Important To Remember


Thirty-four years ago, December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered.  Why is this important given so many historical assassinations?.  Let’s face it.  Rarely are “inconsequential” people assassinated.

For many of us, Lennon was more than a Beatle, a musician, a creative.  He was a controversial creative during a time of heightened vocality due to politics and great – and painful – cultural shifts.  Not everyone was a fan.  Many people vehemently disagreed with his political view and his own way of life.

Why is it so important that we remember his death?  I can only answer for myself but since I am part of a generation that publicly stuck their necks out, I will tell you what I think.

Lennon’s death was the loss of innocence that was attached to hope that the world could change simply because we wanted it to, simply because of love.  Not everyone saw our actions as love, but they were for the most part.  He was indicative of free thinkers – some argue he had the privilege to do that due to his success and finances but I argue that what matters is that he kept being a voice.  Many people, after accumulating what they want, stop speaking out, stop representing the very change they originally sought to effect.

There have been a multitude of essays, reports, books, songs, etc. about Lennon’s life.  All of them are valid.  All of them tell a side to a story. Only people intimately involved with Lennon can possibly know his “truth”. And, regardless of what you felt about him personally, he changed the world for the better as did the Beatles as a group and as individuals in their own right.  The led the brigade.

Lennon was a leader of new thought, a brilliant artist who actually even challenged his own work and beliefs, and then he was murdered.  Doesn’t this make you wonder about your own free speech, your own right to be heard, to be safe from the perils of the sickness that plagues our culture?

In 1986, a close friend of mine suggested I write a commentary for a then published music magazine.  He was a great supporter of the arts and encouraged my silly and insecure writer self to come out and play.  I have always written.  It just wasn’t always good enough to ask others to read.  It took me many, many years to share my poems, my stories, and to show my art.  My friend was one of the first in a blessed line of loving people who pulled me out, demanded I use my gifts, and start “here” and make a statement.  To hell with whether everyone liked it.  Just do it.  And so I did.

Here is the commentary for MusicMachine, the December 12-25, 1986 issue in which my little essay appears.  It was the first piece of writing with my full name on it.  Excuse the naivety and the fledgling words, the awkwardness of it all.  But don’t excuse the heart.  As awkward as it may be, I was still broken about the negative shift in our world when I wrote it. We loved John Lennon, and even those who didn’t care for him felt a terrible heart-pang when he died.  Because, really, we died a little more ourselves.  When you connect together all the dots of that time, you see a world that activists worked hard to bring awareness to.  We need to keep doing this, to keep believing in change – because once we give in, once we give up, there is no longer any reason to breathe.  That is why remembering December 8, 1980 is so important. No matter how simple, how quiet, how ineffective we think we will be, we need to continue to believe that we can make a difference.

 JOHN LENNON

 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 oneImagine 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

John Lennon

Namaste’

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