The death of John Lennon

"The hero who never looked down," by Gary Kamiya; "Remembering Dec. 8, 1980" by Stephen Lemons


Letters to the Editor
December 10, 2000 1:17AM (UTC)

Read Gary Kamiya's story

Read Stephen Lemons' story

Dec. 9, 1980, Meadowbrook Junior High, Newton, Mass.

Mr. Livingston slowly opens the door to the music room. He is crying and clutching a newspaper, barely able to whisper, "I'm sorry ... class ... is canceled today ... John Lennon has been killed ... I'm sorry ..."

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It was only the week before that "Mr. L" had herded us into the drum practice closet to scrutinize the cover of "Yellow Submarine" by candlelight. We were amazed and giddy to be taking a class called "The Beatles."

At almost 14 years old it was hard to grasp the bigger significance of John Lennon's death, but I don't think I'll ever forget the utter sadness and defeat on my beloved music teacher's face that day. It was over, all right.

Luckily for us, the music is immortal ...

-- Martin Ferrini

Gary Kamiya got it exactly right: No one in my life has ever died more emphatically than John Lennon and something in my life died as well. I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and what I felt when I heard the news. The only other event where I can make that statement is John Kennedy's assassination. Thanks for a great article -- it brought tears to my eyes along with a lot of memories.

-- Toni Williams

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There is an essay in F. Scott Fitzgerald's posthumous collection, "The Crack-up," where he describes going to the top of the Plaza Hotel in New York, looking out at Long Island and seeing darkness beyond the city's limits.

The realization that the city has limits characterizes for Fitzgerald the end of the Roaring '20s. Lennon's death meant the same thing for those who came of age from 1964 on. It signified that the culture we had created out of some beatnik philosophy and our own guts was not going to change the world, that out there the beasts of intolerance, hierarchy and materialism were stirring in the dark, ready to begin their slimy crawl back to power.

-- Walter Kelly

Within a few months of his death Ronald Reagan and the Pope were both shot. They lived. Lennon died. I would have traded their lives for his in a flash. We know the legacy of those two pontificators. I wonder how many baby boomers who now slouch their way to senior citizens wonder what an irreverent 60-year-old John Lennon might have to say about life in the 21st century.

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-- Scott Ingram

I don't want to be too crass, but I must point out that John Lennon may be your generation's hero, but he is certainly not even a factor in my generation, and we're in our 20s and 30s.

John and Paul and the Beatles were great. They weren't transcendent. They didn't obliterate what came before, and they didn't provide the true religion for where we are now musically, culturally or intellectually.

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I respect John Lennon, but I don't worship him. Too many boomers fall into that sentimental trap, and the media is poorer for all their personal, emotional dreck published on their experiences and their fallen god.

-- Scott Curtis

Who cares what Lucianne Goldberg, of all people, thinks about John Lennon's death?

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Her smirky, superior "remembrances" made me sick to my stomach.

-- Mark Frisk

I find it telling that you spread a tribute to John Lennon over four pages and couldn't seem to find the bandwidth for the minor events of Dec. 7. You can't honestly believe that a pop star's death was a more momentous occasion than America's entry into WWII.

-- Matt Drachenberg

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