My goal in sharing this video isn’t to make you cry, although it just might do that. It certainly made me weep like a baby. My goal is to celebrate the spirit of John Lennon, dead almost three decades ago as of yesterday. Please be forewarned, the video features graphic and tragic images. If you’re not ready to see the devastation of war, just at least listen to the song and let the lyrics sink in.

I’m a big, big Beatles fan, and I’ve always been a genuine admirer of John Lennon. Every year they play this song on the radio, and the meaning intensifies with age. Every year, his fans give pause on December 8 to remember the moment he was taken from the world. Every year I find myself wondering, what would Lennon have been doing today, if he’d survived being shot? I am sure he would have continued his pacifist efforts. He probably would be leading marches on Washington, writing more cryptic anti-war anthems, and proudly pissing a whole lot of people off. That was his way.

Like I said, my goal in sharing the video isn’t to make you upset, although it probably will if you watch it. I’m not here to make any kind of statement about picking sides, right or wrong. War affects us all. There is loss and devastation and heartbreak on all sides. The anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and listening to the unconventional carol he wrote – hearing the harmony of the Harlem Community Choir soar behind him, has made me introspective. Forgive me while I get deep for a moment.

So, this is Christmas. And we miss our men and women who are overseas, fighting a battle that seems murkier and more confusing every day. We pray for their safe return, and we wonder when it will all end. When will they all be able to return home. When will there be peace in the world?
I’m not sure how many of you saw Alive Day, James Gandolfini’s incredible HBO documentary in which the walking wounded veterans of the current war recount the day they came face to face with their own mortality. Some of the soldiers lost their arms and legs. Some have lost their families because of their new physical limitations. Some have lost their mental capabilities. Theirs were the stories that touched me the most, Marine Sgt. Eddie Ryan, who survived two bullets to the head, whose mother must now speak on his behalf. Staff Sgt. Jay Wilkerson, who can’t clearly remember his children’s names because of the severe traumatic brain injury he suffered. After seeing that documentary, I made a decision to donate to these wounded heroes this Christmas, in addition to all of the presents I’m buying for my loved ones. There’s a great list of charities to support these veterans on the Alive Day website. If any of you know of charities that are actively helping the soldiers, please post them in the comments.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.

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southfloridian says:
December 9, 2007, 12:29 pm
afrobella, your words have touched me more than you know. My husband is fighting overseas, in a war we both canno longer believe in. I am crying as I write this, because he just lost a close friend in battle. Thank you for supporting our troops. Blessings to you on this Sunday.
warrior11209 says:
December 9, 2007, 2:54 pm
Afrobella , thanks for the video - it was sad and tragic when it was first released and continues to be so today. I pray for all those whose family members are fighters in this senseless war that is wounding, maiming and claiming our youngest and our brightest. Southfloridian - you and your family are in my prayers.
Katasha says:
December 9, 2007, 5:59 pm
I certainly cried after watching this video.
Pamelicious says:
December 9, 2007, 9:00 pm
Afrobella, thanks for the video add. It is so sad that the same thing is still going on today. I too am a huge John Lennon fan, more so his fan than a fan of the Beatles. I was a little girl when he was killed and I remember a friend of my was killed exactly one week later. Definitely touching
AfricanGoddess says:
December 9, 2007, 9:25 pm
I love your site Afrobella. You are fabulous! John Lennon's widow,Yoko Ono, continues her work in the peace movement which was what atttracted Lennon to her when they first met. Check out Ono's latest work at The struggle continues.
AmiJane says:
December 10, 2007, 11:51 am
This is beautiful. Tryin to stop myself from crying. Thanks for the light shed on the subject :)
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
December 10, 2007, 11:56 am
Beautiful post bella.
Bebroma says:
December 10, 2007, 12:46 pm
Afrobella, this video brings home the real cost of war. Sometimes we get so numbed to all the tragedy in this world that the numbers we hear of the injured and dead lose their true significance when we hear them. Seeing the faces of the suffering, seeing little children hurt and/or alone, seeing the wrenching grief of people with feelings just like ours helps to turn those numbers into people. Southfloridian, I hope your husband makes it home safely, and I hope that his mind and heart will find peace. John Lennon was a very deep, introspective person and he used his celebrity to bring attention to serious issues. Such an irony that his death was as senseless and tragic as the millions of deaths he felt so deeply about and worked to prevent.
pets says:
December 10, 2007, 8:24 pm
Very deep post and the information about the Christmas song blew me away as I never knew it was Lennon''s timeless and haunting.
Born Jamericuban says:
December 11, 2007, 1:50 am
Thank you for this post Bella! My mom is a retired disabled veteran [USMC, Desert Storm]. I have grown up watching a woman who was sent off to the desert in perfect health and then came back the total opposite. It's very hard, and it continues to be an uphill battle for her even 10+ years later. I am only 21, yet I've had to attend 5 funerals of fallen friends in the past few years who I attended high school with at some point due to the current war. And I consider myself lucky. Its not even about politics, and what side you choose -- when it comes down to it, everyone needs to support the troops, and not just while they are "over there". People seem to forget about them when they come back. You don't even have to have been wounded phsyically during combat -- just going there changes people. Thank you for doing your part to bring attention to our veterans!
AnOldieButAGoodie says:
December 13, 2007, 8:11 pm
I needed to see that. I needed to think. Sometimes the little silliness in life takes away from the thinks that need not be ignored. Thanks for sharing.


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