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Jim O'Donnell

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Lincoln-Kennedy Parallels? Try Lincoln-LENNON

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Jim O'Donnell

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Copyright © 2005 by Jim O'Donnell

At 10 p.m., in a theater, Abraham Lincoln began his last conscious hour on earth.

At 10 p.m., in a studio, John Lennon began his last conscious hour on earth.

Lincoln was shot at point-blank range while sitting in Box 7 of Ford's Theatre.

Lennon was shot at point-blank range while heading for Floor 7 of the Dakota Apartments.

Lincoln's assassin stepped out of the darkness of a front box seat's entryway and approached from the rear, emptying his easily concealed derringer in a wafting puff of grayish-blue smoke.

Lennon's assassin stepped out of the darkness of a front alcove's entryway and approached from the rear, emptying his easily concealed .38-cal. revolver in a wafting puff of grayish-blue smoke.

Lincoln was gunned down by a southern-born 26-year-old, and was later pronounced dead on Tenth Street.

Lennon was gunned down by a southern-born 25-year-old, and was later pronounced dead on Ninth Avenue.

Lincoln's assassin's first reaction to his deed was to mutter a Latin phrase that he had memorized from a book.

Lennon's assassin's first reaction to his deed was to open a book and stand mesmerized.

Lincoln's wife was with him when he was shot, but she was not hurt.

Lennon's wife was with him when he was shot, but she was not hurt.

Lincoln, a president, was hunted by Booth, a performer.

Lennon, a performer, was hounded by Nixon, a president.

Lincoln gave his Number One speech (the "Gettysburg Address") in 1863.

Lennon had his first Number One record ("Please, Please Me") in 1963.

Lincoln's most famous statement starts off by placing itself in the context of time ("four score and seven years ago").

Lennon's group's most famous statement (the Sgt. Pepper album) starts off by placing itself in the context of time ("20 years ago today").

After Lincoln's moving speech, part of a field (in Gettysburg) was turned into a park.

After Lennon's moving music, part of a park (in New York) was turned into a field.

He liked to work poetic elements into his politics, often emphasizing that all men were created equal.

He liked to work political elements into his poetry, often emphasizing that all men AND women were created equal.

Lincoln struggled to help end the worst war America had ever known.

Lennon struggled to help end the worst war America had ever known.

Lincoln was a lawyer, by trade, who intuitively understood the music of politics.

Lennon was a composer, by trade, who intuitively understood the politics of music.

Lincoln's wife was often mocked and blamed for causing organizational problems in her husband's business.

Lennon's wife was often mocked and blamed for causing organizational problems in her husband's business.

At the time of Lincoln's death, he had two sons, one nine years older than the other.

At the time of Lennon's death, he had two songs, one twelve years older than the other.

In Walt Whitman's Lincoln eulogy ("O Captain! My Captain!"), the writer starts off by directly addressing Lincoln.

In George Harrison's Lennon eulogy ("All Those Years Ago"), the writer starts off by directly addressing Lennon.

Midway through the poem, Whitman refers to the assassination as a "dream."

Midway through the song, Harrison refers to the assassination as a "dream."

The last line of Whitman's eulogy repeats a line from the beginning of the poem.

The last line of Harrison's eulogy repats a line from the beginning of the song.

Lincoln was killed on April 14, 1865, Good Friday, the day in the Christian world marking when Christ was put to death.

Lennon was killed on Dec. 8, 1980, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day marking Christ's mother's conception without original sin.

Lincoln was in the fifth year of his presidency when he was slain.

Lennon was in the fifth year of his privacy when he was slain.

In tragicially prompt response to Lincoln's death, a man from New York and a man from Kansas committed suicide.

In tragically prompt response to Lennon's death, a girl from Florida and a man from Utah committed suicide.

At the close of Lincoln's life, he had ended the Civil War and had begun to end slavery--two achievements which, at the time he took office, were only two fantasies.

At the close of Lennon's life, he had just released a recording that celebrated the value of peace and the enduring achievement of freedom, called Double Fantasy.

The world lost Lincoln, before his time, to a handgun.

The world lost Lennon, before his time, to a handgun.

Within hours of John Lennon's death, several hundred people independently came together to mourn him quietly at the Lincoln Memorial.

odonnell@rockandrolljournal.com

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