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Fans Mark Anniversary of Lennon’s Murder

NEW YORK Dec 8, 2005 — Fans brought flowers, candles and their own bittersweet memories Thursday as they gathered in Central Park’s Strawberry Fields to imagine what might have been on the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder by a deranged Beatles fan.

“With the country at war, his work and philosophy seem more poignant and more desperately needed than ever,” said Kim Polson, 50, who said she fell in love with the Beatles when she saw them on television at age 8.

She was an early-morning visitor to Strawberry Fields, the section of Central Park opposite the Dakota apartment building where Lennon was gunned down on Dec. 8, 1980. Hundreds of fans, some of them born after Lennon’s death, gathered on a cold morning.

The scene was much the same in Lennon’s hometown of Liverpool, England, where scores of fans from around the world remembered the ex-Beatle with white balloons, flowers and prayers. The balloons, carrying tributes to Lennon, were released into the sky.

“I just wrote ‘Merry Christmas John’ on my balloon,” said James Andrews, a 9-year-old from Bournemouth, England. “I love the Beatles, and especially John Lennon.”

In New York, locals mingled with tourists in Central Park. One woman sat with a scrapbook she had assembled over the years, while another man played Beatles music on an acoustic guitar. Visitors piled off tour buses to visit the vigil or walk past the Dakota. Among the floral offerings were a half-dozen white roses and a bough of holly.

Angie Mulbay, 24, traveled to New York from Columbus, Ohio, with her 20-year-old sister Ashley. They planned to spend most of the day in Strawberry Fields.

“John is very important to me, his music and his message,” said Mulbay, who was born four days after Lennon’s death. “We’re here to share the day and meet people with the same interest.”

Twenty-five years ago, Lennon who had turned 40 two months earlier was returning from a midtown Manhattan recording studio with his wife, Yoko Ono. As they approached their apartment building, Mark David Chapman, a fan carrying a copy of J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” opened fire on Lennon.