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Imagine what Lennon would think if he saw state of today’s world

My Side
Mike Vidakovich
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Mike Vidakovich
ALL |

I’ll never forget the morning of Dec. 8, 1980. I was home from college on Christmas break, sitting at my parent’s kitchen table digging into a hot bowl of Cream of Wheat cereal.

I was pretty much sold on eating Cream of Wheat for breakfast each morning because I firmly believed that it was the reason why I had grown four inches between my sophomore and junior year in high school. With playing basketball being my lifeblood at that time, I felt I owed a great deal of my modest success on the court to starting each day with the nutritious meal.

The surprise and sadness I experienced that morning had nothing to do with any lumps in my bowl of cereal, but rather with hearing the lead story on the radio newscast. I couldn’t believe my ears as the announcer gave details of what had happened the previous night in New York City.



John Lennon had been shot, and he was gone from this world.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I stared at the radio. I asked my mom, “Why would anyone shoot John Lennon? He was the most peaceful man on earth.”



Entering into adulthood, Lennon’s death hit home during that holiday season much more than when I was a young boy in the late 1960s, hearing about the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The needless killing of those two great men made little sense to me back then, and it makes even less sense to me now.

I guess I’m a bit like A.A. Milne’s bear named Pooh. I am of very little brain, and I do not understand most things.

I admired Lennon for his philosophical song lyrics and his peaceful, gentle nature. I believed – and still believe today – that Lennon, along with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, created the greatest rock and roll band of all time. For anyone not recognizing the names, those four men were called the Beatles.

Immersing myself in sports during most of my waking hours didn’t leave much room for following the world of music back then, other than turning up the volume for a favorite song on the car radio.

I do remember that after the Beatles broke up in 1970, Lennon was politically active through his music, and his stance against the war in Vietnam was well documented. Lennon was loved by the anti-war movement, but he wasn’t highly regarded by the Nixon administration, which tried for many years to deport him from the country.

Mark David Chapman was the man who shot Lennon outside his apartment building, the Dakota, 31 years ago this week.

Chapman was holding a copy of the book “Catcher In The Rye” at the time of the murder. In killing Lennon, Chapman believed that he was carrying out the destiny of the book’s main character, Holden Caulfield, by helping to rid society of all phony people. In Chapman’s eyes, Lennon was a hypocrite, telling his followers to shun possessions, while he made millions of dollars and owned yachts and mansions.

Chapman was also angered with Lennon for saying that he did not believe in God or the Beatles.

If Lennon were alive today, the state of our world would probably break his heart. His message of world peace has largely gone unnoticed. His hope that mankind would love one another has fallen on deaf ears.

This week, if even just for a bit, stop and think a little about John Lennon and what he stood for. Maybe you’ll be inspired to do something nice for someone, and we can all take a step in the direction that he imagined. It’s worth a try.

Mike Vidakovich lives in Glenwood Springs, teaches physical education at the Garden School in New Castle and is a sports columnist for the Post Independent.


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