Remembering John lennon 33 years later

He imagined a world of peace and died in an act of violence


As John Lennon signed autographs on December 8, 1980, he had no idea what was coming.

Outside Lennon’s Dakota Apartments in Manhattan, Mark David Chapman handed Lennon his copy of “Double Fantasy,” which Lennon happily signed. Several hours later, the same man would shoot John Lennon four times, ultimately killing the music legend.

A voice that was known and loved by millions was forever silenced.

Many teachers around Ben Davis remember where they were and what they were doing when sports announcer Howard Cosell announced Lennon’s death during a game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.

“I remember it (that day) vividly,” freshman math teacher Cheryl McCormack said. “I was a college student, and we were all in our apartments and we heard on the news that he died. We were all shocked, but not surprised. My generation grew up in the time when political icons were assassinated.”

Area-31 teacher Dick Hettevan remembers how he felt after the news brokel.

“I was at work, and I was just shocked that someone would kill him because he always stood for peace,” Hettevan said.

“I was oddly very sad when he died, more than I thought I would be,” freshman English teacher Sarah Kilway said.

Usually, when a celebrity dies, their work becomes very popular in the media. This surely happened when John Lennon died.

“His music got really popular and everyone wanted to listen to him,” publications teacher Tom Hayes said. “Julian Lennon (Lennon’s son) became popular as well.”

Currently, when a shooting occurs, gun control typically gets a lot of attention in the media. However, when Lennon was killed, there was more emphasis put on mental health care.

“From what I remember, it wasn’t so much gun control, but a push for to change the mental health care system. I believe Chapman had a history of mental illness so that got a lot of attention,” McCormack said.

Lennon is known almost as much for his death as he is for how he lived his life. That being said, if Lennon had died of a heart attack or a stroke as opposed to being shot, would the Beatles and his solo career still be so popular in the modern day as they are now?

“Yeah, I don’t think his death changed the Beatles. They had been broken up for ten years beforehand,” Hettevan said.

“I think it’s difficult for the younger generations to comprehend the impact that the Beatles had on pop culture,” Hettevan said. “Whenever a group becomes slightly popular, it’s often said that they are the ‘Next Beatles”. But, there will never be another group as popular and influential as the Beatles.”

“The Beatles had a huge impact on pop culture,” science teacher Grace Schmitt said. “They became popular in a time that the world was changing, and their music about peace and unity spoke to that generation.”

“I think that John Lennon, and all of the Beatles, really, had a huge impact on our culture,” mass media teacher Rex Haviland said.

“The ‘British Invasion” really changed American’s mindset. They were a huge force in our society,” Haviland said.

It is clear that Lennon’s death had a huge impact on pop culture and the world, but the Beatle’s legacy and the unfortunate circumstances of Lennon’s death were unrelated.

Unfortunately, in modern times, it is rare that music can have an effect on people from varying generations. Lennon’s music and social activism touched millions of people as he strived to make the world a more peaceful place for all.

As the anniversary of his death comes near, take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of Lennon. While it is unsettling to think that a man who devoted much of his life to promoting peace died in such a violent manner, it does give the current generation an opportunity to do our best to make Lennon’s dream a reality by simply giving peace a chance.