31 Years and the World Still Mourns

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On December 8th, 1980, 31-years ago today, John Lennon was gunned down in front of his New York apartment at 10:50 PM by Mark David Chapman.  Lennon was shot four times in the back as he went to enter his apartment building, The Dakota.  John Lennon was pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital at 11:07 PM. Earlier that day he had autographed an album for Chapman.

I was a huge Beatles fan at a very young age.  My particular favorite of the group was John Lennon.  His biting wit with his lyrics and melodic sense struck a chord in me which made a huge impact.  My Father gave me his original collection of Beatles vinyl at age 8.  I spent hours listening to the songs picking the parts out on the guitar.  Transcribing every line of lyric because I had to.  I would ask my Mother all of the time about when would the Beatles get back together like one would about divorced parents.  I would look at the Sunday paper every week because there would inevitably be something reported about the the Fab Four.  One Sunday, I read that John Lennon was in the studio recording a new album with his wife, Yoko Ono.  I was thrilled!  That album was on the short list for Christmas that year.

Life carried on like normal for any 10 year old until one Monday night after dinner.  We were watching Monday Night Football.  Being originally from Boston, we had to support our New England Patriots!  They were playing the Miami Dolphins.  Then the news of Lennon’s death was announced by Howard Cosell.  I was devastated.  How could this happen?  He was only 40 years old.  Living in Long Beach at the time, I listened intently to the radio tributes to follow on KLOS and KMET.  Listening to the tunes and hearing the fans calling in to share their grief was comforting.  I was not alone in the world.  It took a while to recover from the tragedy.  The loss of John Lennon hurt the world.  It was apparent from the following media coverage of the vigils across the globe.  No, the Beatles would never get back together again.  Life does go on and mankind is a little better off  having shared in the music and messages of John Lennon.  I got Double Fantasy for Christmas that year.  I wore out half the songs on that album (no offense to Yoko).

There was much confusion in the media of how to break the story.  During the “Monday Night Football” broadcast on Dec. 8, 1980, as the Patriots-Dolphins game went to a commercial, Howard Cosell told Frank Gifford — off the air — that John Lennon was dead.  In the booth, before coming back live, they had less than a minute to decide what to do.

Mark David Chapman was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.  As of today he still sits in prison, having been denied parole over the years.

After his death, Yoko Ono later spread John Lennon’s ashes in Central Park.  There was no funeral.

December 8, 1980 the world lost an amazing musician and humanitarian.  Who knows what beautiful music John Lennon would have created had he still been alive.  Truly a shame, and still, December 8th is a very sad day.  However, John Lennon is alive and well through his timeless music which will live on well beyond our years.

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