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Doug's Mailbag: Anniversary of Lennon's Death

Here are some thoughts on the former Beatle's passing:

I was a senior in high school the day John Lennon was murdered. I remember the announcement by Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football and then the news reports.

Tragic event. I would imagine this was comparable to Buddy Holly being killed.

I was in seventh grade when Lennon died. Although my parents listened to the Beatles, it did not affect me that much at the time.

The death that has affected me most was Johnny Cash. I knew the words to I Walk the Line by the time I was in kindergarten. When he died, it felt like a part of my childhood did too.

I was in a sleazy $38 a night motel in Fairlawn, N.J. on government business travel.

It was the real end of the Beatles era. Saturday Night Live made the joke of offering them $2000 to reunite on the show. We didn't expect it, but the possibility lived on until it was snuffed out that night. I was also freaked that it happened in front of the building where "Rosemary's Baby" was filmed. It hit harder than the passing of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison for me.

When I remember John Lennon's death, I also recall when I heard about JFK, RFK, and MLK. Then I always remember the quote from the movie, Billy Jack:  "Not dead, their brains blown out! Because your people wouldn't even put the same controls on their guns as they do on their dogs, their bicycles, their cats, and their automobiles. The violence just never seems to stop."

A friend of mine from school and I decided to visit another friend who was working in a different part of N.Y. ( Poughkeepsie ). We were traveling from Rochester to there when they broke the news -- needless to say we were stunned, especially since we had been listening to his latest album in the car ( cassette tape -- oh those were the days ). Needless to say all we talked about that weekend was how tragic and senseless it was.

I can remember both Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy being shot and killed -- I remember my mom crying in front of the TV about both of them. All I'll say was I was under the age of 5. I couldn't understand why people would do such a thing.

I was in Los Angeles visiting a friend when John Belushi died. We went to a vigil there for him -- one of the many. This was before Hollywood, Calif. became a war zone for gangs. I was told years later that if I had been wearing now what I was wearing back then, I would probably have been killed on the street (was wearing a red bandanna ). I then asked what color would be safe and was pretty much told "none" - they all have their "colors" and you're fair game for the others -- a very sad commentary on our times.

As Martin Luther King put it himself ( slightly modified for my case ),  "I have a dream that my two children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." I couldn't have said it better myself.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 12/13/2010 at 1:18 PM


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