Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: December 9, 1980

Death of John Lennon
Statement by the President.
December 9, 1980

John Lennon helped create the music and the mood of our time. His spirit, the spirit of the Beatles—brash and earnest, ironic and idealistic all at once—became the spirit of a whole generation.

In the 1960’s, John Lennon and the Beatles captured the imagination of the world. Their greatest success came when they conquered America; and in recent years, it was in America that John Lennon chose to live, because he valued the atmosphere of freedom and ferment he found here. His work as an artist and musician was far from done, but in the songs he composed, both in partnership with Paul McCartney and in his own right, he leaves an extraordinary and permanent legacy.

I know that I speak for many millions of Americans when I say that I am saddened by his death, and distressed by the senseless manner of it. It is especially poignant that John Lennon has died by violence, though he had long campaigned for peace.

Rosalynn and I extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Lennon’s wife, Yoko, and to their young son, Sean.

NOTE: Mr. Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment house in New York City on December 8.


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