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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 15, 1969

Welcome to Day #15 in A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR!  And this time around, the fifteenth day happens to also fall on a Tuesday Timeline day!  This means that I have to find an event that happened in the past that has a little bit of holiday flavour to it.

Do you think that I have succeeded?  Well, we'll get to that in a moment.

For now, let's take a look at some of the things that took place on December 15th.

37 - Roman Emperor Nero (d. 68) is born

1778 - During the American Revolutionary War, French and British troops clash in the Battle of St. Lucia

1791 - The United States Bill of Rights becomes law

1890 - Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which ultimately brings about the Wounded Knee Massacre

1892 - Industrialist J. Paul Getty (d. 1976) is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota

1914 - The Serbian Army recaptures Belgrade from the invading Austro-Hungarian Army

1928 - Singer Jerry Wallace (d. 2005) is born in Missouri

1933 - The Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, putting an end to the prohibition era

1939 - The film "Gone With The Wind" premieres in Atlanta, Georgia

1941 - German troops murder over 15,000 Jewish people at Drobytsky Yar during World War II

1960 - Richard Pavlick is arrested for planning an assassination attempt on then President-elect John F. Kennedy

1961 - Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty of fifteen charges, including criminal acts against humanity and criminal acts against the Jewish people

1965 - Gemini 6A is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida

1966 - Walt Disney passes away just ten days after his 65th birthday

1973 - The grandson of J. Paul Getty - John Paul Getty III is found alive in Italy after being kidnapped by an Italian gang in July

1976 - Oil tanker MV Argo Merchant runs aground near Nantucket, Massachusetts, causing one of the worst marine oil spills in history

1981 - One of the first recorded modern suicide bombings in history takes place when a car bomb explodes outside of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing sixty-one people

2000 - The third reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down - fourteen years and eight months after the 1986 meltdown

2009 - Boeing's first flight of its 787 Dreamliner takes off from Seattle, Washington

2010 - Director Blake Edwards dies at the age of 88

2013 - Japanese-American actress Joan Fontaine dies at the age of 96

2014 - Eighteen people are taken hostage inside of a Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, Australia by a man - two hostages and the hostage taker would lose their lives following a police raid the following morning

And celebrating a birthday today are the following people; Tim Conway, Cindy Birdsong, Dave Clark, Thaao Penghlis, Carmine Appice, Rodney Bingenheimer, Don Johnson, Melanie Chartoff, Rudi Protrudi, Robert Charles Wilson, Paul Simonon, William Orbit, Laura Molina, Tim Reynolds, Tim Gaines, Ellie Cornell, Helen Slater, Michael Le Vell, Paul Kaye, Michael Shanks, Stuart Townsend, Geoff Stults, Ned Brower, Adam Brody, Alex Solowitz, Brendan Fletcher, Charlie Cox, George O. Gore II, Kirsty Lee Allan, Emily Head, and Chandler Canterbury.

Now comes the moment of truth.  We take a look to see what date we'll be going back in time to.  I hope it's a good one!

Ah, we're going back in time to December 15, 1969

So, it was right around this time that the turbulent 1960s were about to end, and the 1970s were just around the corner.  It was a time in which the Vietnam War was in full swing with many American men being drafted into the war (and many others trying to avoid being drafted by fleeing to Canada).  And, 1969 would be the last year that the Beatles would ever be a full band, with their 1970 breakup not too far off from this date.

Now, why did I mention the Vietnam War and the Beatles in the same sentence?  Well, it's because both of these things are somewhat connected to each other, and both of these things are connected to the date of December 15, 1969.  Just not in the way you might think.

And does Christmas factor into this piece?

Well, we know that John Lennon released this Christmas single in 1971...but this song also symbolizes the same ideals that Lennon had going into planning one of the biggest anti-war concerts ever put together.

It was on this date forty-six years ago today that John Lennon and Yoko Ono put on their "Peace for Christmas Concert", which was held in Lyceum Ballroom in London.

And for what it was worth, the concert proved to be a star-studded affair.  Eric Clapton sang and played his guitar.  Rita Coolidge sang.  And the event even had a couple of surprise guests in the name of Keith Moon and George Harrison.

And why did John, Yoko, and the Plastic Ono Band agree to put on this special show?  Well, it was very simple.  Peace loving John Lennon and his wife were vehemently opposed to the Vietnam War, and honestly, I can't say I blame them.  I have my own thoughts on the Vietnam War, and my personal opinion was that it was a war that the Americans needed to stay out of.  The number of soldiers who were negatively effected by the war - effects that include post traumatic stress, nervousness, depression, physical and mental injuries, and even suicide - doesn't nearly justify going into war in the first place.

(I should clarify that I'm not completely against the idea of going to war - provided that the reasons for entering into combat are valid.  I just don't see the Vietnam War as being one of those conflicts.  But that war ended forty years ago...there's no sense trying to make sense of it any more.)

Anyway, John and Yoko believed that by using the power of music, they would convince others that war was not the answer and that they should give peace a chance.  And, on December 15, 1969, John and Yoko put together the WAR IS OVER (if you want it) campaign.

They collaborated with UNICEF to put the concert together, and while the event was set in London, a total of twelve cities around the world agreed to put up banners and signs in prominent tourist locations to get the message out.  Cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, and Hong Kong were part of those twelve cities.

Consider it global advertising in its infancy, if you will.

That's not to say that the concert event went off without a hitch.  Would you believe that when UNICEF announced the December 15, 1969 concert date, they neglected to tell the performers?  Not that it mattered too much because John and Yoko were huge supporters of UNICEF and were more than happy to team up with them.

Oh, and one last thing I should mention.  George Harrison was actually a late addition to the set.  You see, when the concert was being held, and the Plastic Ono Band was booked for the venue, Eric Clapton showed up with most of the members of the Delaney and Bonnie band - and at that time, George Harrison was playing with them.  But again, John didn't mind too much.  It was the first time that John and George had played together in years.  And besides that, John Lennon was very happy with the final result.

That final result included a massive supergroup jam where all of the people who performed that day did a rendition of "Cold Turkey" and "Don't Worry Kyoto".

A rendition that lasted close to twenty-five minutes! 

All in all, it was a very interesting and creative way to kick off the WAR IS OVER campaign, and as of 2015, Yoko Ono is still putting the word out through social media.

After all, the holidays shouldn't be about declaring war.  They should be about peace, love, joy, and compassion.  After all, at this point in time, refugees from Syria are coming to countries all over the world to rebuild their lives which were rudely interrupted by war.  I think that we should show compassion and try our best to help them adjust to life in a new place.  I can't imagine it's very easy for them.

And, I'm just going to say this as one final note.  I understand that a lot of people are wondering what is going on in the world.  2015 has definitely been one of the most tumultuous years that I can remember for sure.  But it's also important to know that not everybody in the world is a bad person, and it's really unfair to generalize and stereotype against an entire group of people based on their religious background or their gender or the colour of their skin or what have you.  Yes, there are terrible people in the world, and yes, they should be held accountable for their actions, but you can't judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few rotten apples.

I won't stand for it.  I don't think anybody should stand for it, no matter what any politician with open mouth insert foot syndrome says.  Particularly those with hair issues...if you get my drift.

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