All those years ago (Off-topic)

It was thirty years ago today, but somehow it seems much closer. I was eleven years old watching Monday Night Football in bed on an old black and white TV in my room. There was a lot of static and snow, and I heard the announcer, Howard Cosell, say that somebody – I couldn’t hear whom - had been shot and killed in New York City. “Probably some celebrity,” I thought, focusing on the game. It was a little after 12am east coast time.

A few moments later my oldest brother called on the phone to tell me the news. Indeed it was some celebrity. But not just any celebrity. John Lennon had been shot dead in New York City.

You see, when I was young, I listened to almost nothing but the Beatles for the first ten years of my life. As a child I destroyed no fewer than three copies of Abbey Road, released the year I was born, trying to put the needle on the record player. The Beatles were my heroes. I was then and remain now endlessly inspired by their music and by their stories.

I cried my heart out that night and many nights thereafter. December 8th, 1980 was a loss of innocence for me. It was the first time I realized that there were a lot of bad people in the world, and that the world could be a very cruel place. It would not be the last.

Thirty years later the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik shines every night from October 9th, Lennon’s birthday, to December 8th – the night he died. For those who haven't seen the live image, it is a beautiful site regardless of whether the light is shining. John Lennon would have been seventy years old had he lived to see this day.

Sean P. Sullivan

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