On the first of June in 1969, John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, recorded their song, “Give Peace a Chance” in their famous “Bed-in” for Peace. A week later, U.S. President Richard Nixon and South Vietnamese President Thieu held a summit meeting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Nixon immediately announced a major troop withdrawal from that war in Southeast Asia. Thousands of sons and daughters died in the months after that announcement, and we abandoned the conflict a few years later.
Two months after Lennon’s song appeared, cult leader Charles Manson began a murder spree, while at the same time the society-changing rock festival, Woodstock, was held in Upstate New York, with peace and brotherly love on stage.
Did John Lennon know, when he first sang “Give Peace a Chance,” that his message would continue as a national anthem for hope 40 years later?
I believe in giving peace a chance. For the 15 years that I have lived on our blessed planet, I have yet to see absolute peace in the world — wars going on, continual hate of different races and beliefs, and violence that seems to have no reason for starting in the first place, but leaves death and destruction in its wake.
Hate, the antagonist of peace, takes many forms. I go to a Naval Preparatory school, and it’s become a ritual for some students just to be bad and smear the good name of the school, and I ask myself,
“What’s the point? Is it because it’s cool or fun? These people do stuff for a cheap thrill or laugh, but in turn cause someone pain.” I have asked adults the question, “Why can’t there be peace?” and they tell me, “It’s complicated.” I don’t think it’s complicated and I don’t think it’s hard, either! I believe all peace takes is a little imagination.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
These words were spoken by the same man who believed strongly in giving peace a chance, John Lennon. As a musician, a beloved father, and a devout believer in peace, he dreamed of this world where all beings could live in harmony. I believe it is possible, that someday the bad people will see what they are doing to Earth and all who live upon her and give peace a chance. The way I still think peace is possible in the world is simply because of the brave people that I have seen as I ride home from my school, taking a public stand, holding up signs on the side of the road that say “Hope” and “Dream,” holding them steadfast against the hate that keeps passing by.
The past two years, on December 8th, the anniversary of John Lennon’s violent death at the hand of an assassin, I have been moved to take to the street corner myself to honor his memory. “Imagine peace,” is what I put on my sign. People in cars and on bicycles and on foot signal their support with honks and peace signs and words of encouragement.
Really, all we are saying is give peace a chance.