In Memoriam – John Lennon (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)

Dear Editor:

Forty years ago, on Dec. 8, 1980, the world bid a sad, fond farewell to John Winston Ono Lennon. “Beatle” John was one of the greatest song writers and artistic geniuses in modern times. Lennon’s unique musical style, his haunting, thought-provoking lyrics, and his melodious sonnets, touched all of us in some special, personal way.

John Lennon was the voice of global peace and brotherly love during a time of intense turmoil, racial tensions, paranoia, injustice, and hysteria – very similar to what we are experiencing today.

Ironically, Lennon’s sincere belief in the benevolence that lay within all people contributed to his tragic, senseless murder at the hands of a cowardly lunatic. How convenient that Mark David Chapman, Lennon’s assassin, claims to have “found God” and believes that John Lennon would have wanted him released from prison. I guess we would never know. Chapman’s pusillanimous act extinguished the creative fires of an artist who only wanted to “Give Peace a Chance.” Isn’t it strange how the peacemakers throughout history have met violent deaths (e.g., Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Anwar Sadat)?

Some will pompously take pleasure in denouncing the granny-bespectacled John Lennon as the radical responsible for social decay. Indeed, John Lennon did many foolish things. However, he was not the “monster” that introduced subversive ideas to America’s youth. There were numerous subcultures and underground movements throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s that would have existed without John Lennon. They needed neither John Lennon nor the Beatles as an excuse to protest the war in Vietnam and social injustice.

Lennon’s epitaph can be summarized as follows: Strive for peace, unity, and equality among all people and nations.

There will never be another John Lennon. On December 8, let us all remember John Lennon in our prayers. May his spirit of peace and brotherly love soar and live on. Hopefully, John’s beautiful dreams of peace, tranquility, harmony, love, and understanding will become our realities. In John Lennon’s own immortal, poetical words from “Imagine:” “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.”

John Di Genio