It was 32 years ago today and I was up late studying for one of my winter exams. I don’t remember the subject. I had the radio on in the background and the words were said “John Lennon has been shot and killed.” I don’t remember what else they said. All I remember is a ringing in my head and not breathing, of course we all know I was breathing, but I didn’t feel it. Up until that moment in my life, death was an abstract. As I suspect it was with many in my age group. Yea, I understood soldiers die or people could become sick or be killed in an accident and a natural disaster. But the idea that someone like John Lennon could be gunned down in front of his home by a madman. Nope. This just was not right.
After the ringing stopped and my breathing continued, I walked down the hall to my parents room. My mother had been sleeping and I woke her up with the news. I still see the look of shock and horror on her face as she looked at the television.
Every generation has that shocking moment. That moment where reality invades our own little worlds and reminds us we are not alone. We all have our own fears and hopes. Our own joys and sadness. But every once in a while, an event happens when the world stops and everyone knows we are all feeling the same grief.
For those in my age category, this was the moment we learned the good guys do not always win and bad things happen. For those who missed it, the lesson would be reinforced less than four months later, when President Reagan was shot. For most of my generation, December 8, 1980 was the day our innocence ended.