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Thirty-Five Years Ago Today Rock's Savior Died: Remembering Lennon

reprinted from December 8th, 2015

by Pencilstorm Contributor: Wal Ozello

Several years ago, I found myself at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame on a weekday. It was practically empty except for a few co-workers and me so we were able to soak in all the exhibits.  The upper floors were reserved for special rotating exhibits and we were lucky enough to catch one that featured John Lennon… just John… and told the story of his whole life, from birth to death, to the immortalization of his music and persona. Yoko Ono had collaborated with the museum so it was very detailed with hundreds of artifacts and rock memorabilia.

There were two parts of the exhibit that moved me the most.  Yoko had included John’s glasses, preserved intact from the evening of his death, December 8, 1980.  They were his iconic round eye spectacles but these were stained with blood.  While most would consider this morbid, I felt the humanity of it. This made that moment real. For a split-second, I didn’t see the murder of world’s greatest songwriter, I saw the death of fellow human being, pulled away from a loving wife and two sons.

The second was an art installation that Yoko included.  It was a telephone with a simple sign that said, “Call Cleveland for Peace.” An odd inclusion to the exhibit and I asked the security guard what it was about.  He explained that several time a week Yoko would randomly call the phone and talk to whoever answered it. At the end of the conversation, she’d wish them peace. 

I was hoping Yoko would have called at that moment.  I would have explained to her how much the exhibit moved me that day and that I admired John not just an artist, but as a father and a husband. I believe in many of the words John sang. I, too, have hope that one day all the people will be able to share the world and live as one.

No funeral was ever held for John.  Instead, Yoko had asked for ten minutes of silence several days after - on December 14 - to remember him.  It happened all over the world. In fact, all the radio stations in New York City were silent for those ten minutes.  Years after, they dedicated a special section of Central Park as a memorial called Strawberry Fields. It’s steps away from where he was murdered. If you’re ever in New York City, I highly recommend visiting it.  In the middle of the all the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s the most serene place I’ve ever been to.

Take a minute to remember John today and imagine what it would be like if we’d try and practice his words.  He would have been seventy-five this year.

Wal Ozello is a science fiction techno-thriller novelist and the author of Assignment 1989 ,  Revolution 1990, and Sacrifice 2086. He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.

Bonus video.. And don't forget the Beatles Marathon is Dec 26th at the Bluestone. Read more here.