This past week we celebrated the birthday of Mr. John Lennon. He was someone I considered a genius and a man well before his time. His assassination was one of the very events that literally changed the lives of millions of people. Its events such as this that remain in our minds and it got me thinking…
We all have unforgettable events in our lives and for me, there have been several. We all have those moments in time that we simply cannot forget. I was only 5 or 6 when JFK was gunned down and have very little memory. I know that people were standing in front of the TV crying. That was my clearest memory. I was older when his brother was assassinated and recalled that humans were capable of crying rivers of tears. I knew at that point in my life that nothing would ever be the same for the Kennedy family, or for the United States and that knowledge made my heart heavy.
A moment in time that stands out for me was the brutal slaying of Martin Luther King. I knew he had a dream and I remembered watching that speech. When a white man named James Earl Ray shot down this leader I was devastated beyond words. I am unsure if I was sad for him or sad about the way I heard white people rejoice in his death. It was a very brutal introduction of hatred and racism and what people were capable of saying. It was a lesson I did not want to learn, and sadly am still learning that people are filled with hatred and racism, even today.
When man walked on the moon it was unforgettable. I was glued to the tube and watching when Neil Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon. I recall holding my breath hoping he would be okay as he stepped out of his ship. It seemed surreal and made us all believe that we could do anything and everything if we simply put our mind to it. For a moment there was magic in our world.
My mother was at jury duty the day Elvis died. She was a huge Elvis fan. I recall wondering who was going to tell her when she got Home. I was part sad and part in amazement that the King of Rock died on the toilet. How would I tell my mother her hero died on the john? She had heard it on the radio on the way home so we did not have to break the news to her, however the days that proceeded and the TV shows and the events were something I will always remember.
For me, the most devastated thing I recalled that changed my life was the assassination of John Lennon. I could get my head around the assassination of a president and I could even understand why white people would want MLK dead, but nothing could prepare me for Lennon’s assassination. I was playing in a band at the time, and they all knew Lennon was my favorite. They all came over to my house and we sat and lit candles, and listened non-stop the radio playing Beatle songs. We all sat in tears and our minds were in shock and our hearts were so broken. I am not sure what affected me the most. That people could be so crazy and we let them walk the streets, or that the mind behind the music was gone in a single moment. I recall going to Reid Park and participating in the memorial. For me, it was what memories were made up of. Nothing affected my life as a young woman as much as this did.
These were just a few of the events when I was younger that remain in my mind as if it were just yesterday. Events of our past can really shape who we become today. Because of MLK I have become a more compassionate person towards all race. Man walking on the moon opened my eyes to anything is possible. Elvis dying reminded me that we are not immortal and kings die, oh yeah and that I never want to die on a toilet.
What in the past has affected your life?