John Lennon's Death: 10 Minutes Of Global Silence


Few events in history can bring thousands of people together for a single cause, but in December 1980, a tragedy silenced the world for 10 minutes straight. That heartbreaking incident was the murder of John Lennon, one of the greatest musicians and songwriters the world has ever known. 30,000 people gathered in Lennon's hometown of Liverpool and 225,000 in New York City to mourn Lennon's passing, and around the world, millions held mass silence to bid goodbye to a legend. Here's how one of the last historic global alerts went down.

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you see together is reality."

Undoubtedly, John Lennon was a visionary, and seeing how his passing affected people all over the world, he was not alone. At 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 14, 1980, six days after Lennon was shot and killed, people around the world went silent to watch his tragic passing. Even the radio waves went silent for the 10-minute silence that Lennon's widow Yoko Ono had planned.

"What we have to do is to keep hope alive, because without it we would drown."

Lennon was cremated shortly after his death, which meant that few had to pay their respects personally. The 10-minute silence provided an opportunity for everyone, as Ono, to "participate from wherever you are" in observing Lennon's life and legacy. The media descended in large numbers to cover perhaps the largest international surveillance in modern human history, but despite the throngs of journalists and camera crews, the gatherings did not turn into a chaotic circus. All maintained their respectful admiration for a man who was considered by many to be an integral part of their lives.

"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life with smiles, not tears."

Lennon would have lived longer than if the friends counted more than the years. In attendance largely under the watchful eye of Central Park were Ed Koch, then-mayor of New York City, as well as Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden. On hearing a recording of a Beatles concert, crowds of people brought flowers and carried candles.

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