Saturday, October 9, 2010

They say it's your birthday, John Lennon

John Winston Ono Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980

I know today is John Lennon's birthday. But a celebration of his birth and life makes it hard not to focus on his death.

I lived in England when Lennon was shot in New York City. I'm American. I was in the middle of a seven-year stay in northern England, mostly in Sheffield. And although my mother back in the states thought my accent had changed and I'd "become very English," I was very American.

On the day Lennon died, I was on holiday in Newcastle, a city on the northeast coast of England. You can imagine the shock, the grief that the English felt. Implicit in their sadness was the idea that America had killed John Lennon, perhaps the most beloved of the Beatles.

Remember, this was 1980. Not so long ago in some ways, but a very different time. English police did not even carry guns. America was seen as the lawless Wild West. Lennon's murder confirmed for many what they already believed. Madmen ran wild in the streets in a land that had no respect for a dreamer. | BBC On this day: 1980: John Lennon shot dead

Of course, I had nothing to do with John Lennon's shooting. But I was an American deep within the borders. And I was a child of the 60s. On the playgrounds of my youth, we had argued over the supremacy of the Beatles or the Beach Boys.

We believed. All you need is love.

I remember that day as a very sad one. And a very quiet one. I did not want to speak. I preferred to keep my American accent to myself that day.

Happy birthday, John Lennon.

All we can do is imagine what you'd be like at 70 years old.

Robin, Tempe


Lavender Luz said...

Thank you for such a unique perspective on this world-changing day.

Still makes me sad. What a loss.

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

Yes, I remember that day too, the day the "music died" for me.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one".
Thank you for this post and also the Birthday Greetings!

Sam (UK) said...

I don't think the British blame America for this tragedy. But NB British police still do not generally carry guns; guns are still very rare in the UK.

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