When Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper stood on stage at Civic Center Park yesterday and said that it would have been John Lennon’s 68th birthday, it got to me.
When Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in December 1980, I was probably studying for finals. It was my first semester in college. I remember that month for personal reasons I won’t go into here, not for events on the world stage.
But as I get older, the people we’ve lost to murder matter more to me: the Kennedys, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lennon, the four little girls, Medgar Evers, Schwerner, Goodman, and Cheney. I wonder what they would be doing in the world today. Would things be any different?
For that reason I was angered by a woman talking on her cell phone about the “hippy-dippy” event that was the Imagine Peace Paint-In on Lennon’s birthday in Denver. (As far as I can tell from the website, it was a Denver event.)
Does she have any idea how stupid she sounded? Probably not.
I don’t understand the continuing contempt for the 1960s. I was just a little girl then, so all the turmoil passed me by; it’s something I read about in history books. But it sounds like an amazing time—I wish I could go back and experience it. I think much of the 1960s was about this:
“There is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is nececessary for growth.”
—Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
I think we’ve lost the art of that.
Below are some pictures from the event. I hope you enjoy them.