BBC News asked this question yesterday in their piece for the 30th anniversary of this sad event:
John Lennon's death 30 years ago was one of those shocking, poignant "where were you when" moments that fashion collective memories out of historic events.I look at my children today, who are both now ardent Beatles fans (to the chagrin of their mother, no doubt), and can't really find the words to express the depth of that moment, or express what it meant to fans (and non-fans) alike when it played out. Perhaps, it's still a little too painful. I have explained to them that John died a long time ago, but it comes off flat. Certainly, Elvis fans should be able to relate since their moment had arrived three years in advance. Even though I was less passionate toward Presley, I can still recall that instant as well. I was driving eastbound on the 10 freeway, just passing downtown L.A., when I heard the news of Elvis' death on FM radio.
It's not a matter for someone to be nostalgic. Shocks to the system of this sort make an indelible impression on human software. So it was for millions when it was announced that Mark David Chapman shot John Winston Ono Lennon in the back when he returned home to The Dakota apartments on this date 30 years ago today. Forlornly, and forever, sealing those two, and place, in time. The passing of the decades since has only increased my appreciation for the artist, and lessened any time I dwell on Lennon's murderer. But, when I do think of him (like today), it is this quote from Michael Mann's The Insider that always comes to mind:
"Fame has a fifteen minute half-life, infamy lasts a little longer."So where was I? You would have found me sitting alone in an L.A. apartment (a girlfriend's at the time who was away at an evening college course) watching a now ancient 19" cathode ray tube television set. Ironically, that location is less than 2 miles from where I live now. I was viewing the Monday Night Football game, Patriots vs. Dolphins, when Howard Cosell made the sad announcement (a bulletin he did not want to do):
Since my mother had died two years previous in 1978, I thought I had no more tears for anything. I was mistaken.