Throwback of the month: John Lennon

Imagine that he was still alive. Imagine the peace that his presence would have inspired. Imagine the music he could have created. Imagine the love he would have shared. Now, imagine a world in which John Lennon would have never existed, and understand how lucky we are that he did.

On Oct. 8, the world celebrated what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. On that day, popular Web sites like Google and YouTube changed their logos to honor him. Around the world, people gathered to place flowers, play music and light candles to pay tribute to the memory of a man who meant so much to so many.

The purpose of these throw-backs is, more than anything, to inspire young people to look back. There have been many great artists in the past, who have left us so much, who have taught us so many things, and who must not be forgotten. John Lennon might just be the most important throwback of all. Certainly, the only one I would do if I could only do one.

He was more than a Beatle. Although, in his time with the band, he, Paul, George and Ringo, gave us some of the greatest music ever recorded. He was truly an artist in the sense that he was always searching. Even in songs that he recorded with the band like “A Day in the Life,” “Across the Universe,” “In My Life,” “Because,” and “All You Need is Love,” there was a desolation heard, like the voice of a small child crying out for help — and in that voice we heard ourselves.

John Lennon’s music not only accompanies us through life, caressing us, and comforting us. It allowed John to open up his heart, reach out, and let us know that we are not alone. It seems like many of John’s songs with the Beatles, were the ones in which he didn’t get the girl, or the girl hurt him, or he was simply trying to cope with the pain of a broken heart — and who has never felt that? However, the world kept spinning, and John kept getting older and wiser, with it.

Eventually, the Beatles disbanded, and so began John’s solo career, which would reach its pinnacle with one of the greatest songs ever written, “Imagine.” Although we had already seen sneak peeks of what John’s heart beat for, it was during this time that his intentions and ideas really blossomed. He was never quiet when it came to standing up for what he believed in — anti-war, civil rights, peace, and freedom. He was an activist. He rallied. He protested.

On Dec. 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered. He was shot in the back four times. The world mourned. The loss of John Lennon is an enigma that we will always, without hope of reason or clarity, look for an answer to. We will look up to the heavens and ask whoever we believe is up there, why such a life was taken from us? What would the world look like with John Lennon around, to voice our sentiments, and to remind us that we must, always, give peace a chance.

But, if John were here, he would probably tell us to not look back in anger. Instead, to focus on all the good around us, all the work we still have to do, all the changes that still need to be made, all the love there is to share, and all the life there is to live. And if anything, we should be thankful. Thankful that John Lennon was who he was. Thankful that he left us every message we ever need to hear recorded in every one of his lyrics. Thankful that, although he is gone, his spirit remains, and as long as we remember him, he will always be with us.

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