It’s all we’ve got. Today and each other, along with the promise of a tomorrow.
Earlier today, Teacher Toni posted a diary, “Do you remember 25 years ago?,” and she wrote, “On this day, I proudly proclaim that I am a dreamer.”
Captain Future also posted about the death of John Lennnon 25 years ago in “It’s Still A Drag“: “I was in New York City the last day of John Lennon’s life. We breathed the same cold air. …”
John Lennon was remembered in a fond interview on CNN today of author Larry Kane, who knew Lennon well:
A soldier I interviewed talked about seeing him in — in Central Park, not from the Strawberry Fields oval, where so many are gathered today. And he said, aren’t you John Lennon?
KANE: And John said, no, I’m not John Lennon anymore. Now I’m just daddy. And that’s my job.
Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! segment today on John Lennon was particularly moving to me because she emphasized his dedication to political involvement:
AMY GOODMAN: While the highlights of Lennon’s career with the Beatles are well known, Lennon is less remembered for his political activism and dedication to peace. Lennon wrote some of the most famous songs of the anti-war movement: “Give Peace a Chance,” “Imagine” and “Happy Christmas, War is Over.” He sang at political protests against the Vietnam War, in support of the radical John Sinclair and even for the prisoners of Attica. He and Yoko made international headlines simply by lying in bed as part of their Bed-In for Peace.
The U.S. government saw Lennon as such a serious threat that President Nixon attempted to have him deported in 1972. In addition, the F.B.I. closely monitored his actions and amassed a file on Lennon of over 300 pages. …
Amy Goodman interviews Jon Wiener about his efforts to get the FBI files, 10 pages of which are still being withheld for reasons of “national security.” Wiener’s comments include references to MI5’s file on Lennon. Wiener describes a concert tour that Lennon planned, and the FBI notes from a concert. Then — and this was new to me — Wiener talks about what Lennon did about the crisis in the Attica prison:
ON WIENER: Yeah. In September, 1971, there was an uprising at Attica Prison in upstate New York. Something like a couple of thousand, mostly black, inmates seized the prison, had a whole list of demands, most of which were completely reasonable: decent health care, religious freedom for Muslims, alternatives to pork in the diet, uncensored reading materials. The prison administration agreed to virtually all of the demands, but then one horrible morning, 1,400 New York state troopers stormed the prison.
They killed 32 prisoners and ten guards and injured something like 80 more. This was, you know, a complete outrage, and the next month, December 1971, there was a protest meeting and a benefit concert for the families of the prisoners who had been killed in the uprising. That was held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. And John Lennon went, because this, you know, disturbed him. He hated what had happened at Attica. We have tape, very unusual rare tape, of Lennon speaking on stage live at the Apollo, 1,500 people who had gathered to protest the murders at Attica Prison.
AMY GOODMAN: John Lennon in Harlem.
JOHN LENNON: I would just like to say it’s an honor and a pleasure to be here at the Apollo and for the reasons we’re all here. Some of you might wonder what I’m doing here with no drummers and no nothing like that. Well, you might know, I lost my old band, or I left it. I’m putting an electric band together. It’s not ready yet, and these — things like this keep coming up, so I have to just busk it. So I’m going to sing a song now you might know. It’s called “Imagine.” [singing “Imagine”] Two, three, four — “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us; above us, only sky — Imagine all the people, living for today –”
AMY GOODMAN: … [T]hen-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, right after the prisoners rose up – it was another September 11 — September 11, 1971 (September 9, it began). On the 13th, he called out the New York state troopers, and they opened fire, killing 39 men, including guards, critically wounding more than 80 others and injuring hundreds. Jon Wiener.
JON WIENER: Yeah, it was a terrible day, and it’s interesting that Lennon wanted to be part of that protest, too. So, you know, New York was very important to him, and he wanted to be part of the political life of New York and part of the movement in New York, and that’s one of the reasons why it was particularly horrible that he got killed in New York, which was the city that he thought of as the center of the world, the home of the free. …
… the center of the world, the home of the free. … what would John Lennon think of New York City and the United States now? And what do we think of ourselves and how we are working to make the world — our small individual worlds and the whole world — better?