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.