Yoko Ono reveals her joy under the newly unveiled tapestry showing Manhattan as a giant yellow submarine with late Beatle at the helm, which was unveiled at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration during the city’s inaugural “John Lennon Day."
Yoko Ono, Bono ,Edge and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito marked the city’s inaugural “John Lennon Day” on Ellis Island Wednesday, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the day the Beatle got his green card. “They let him stay, and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here,” said Bono. Ono said that her “heart was crying” remembering her late husband, who battled to get his permanent residency and stay in New York after the U.S. government ordered him deported back to Britain over a pot possession plea.
“I remember how proud and happy he was” to be able to stay in the U.S., she said. “I’m sure John would have felt great to have a New York day.”
Ono recalled Lennon's fight against violence and hatred. She said he was a feminist before his time, taking their son Sean to Central Park every Sunday, and that now she thinks of him when she sees dads pushing strollers in the city.
|Ono, Bono, Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty and The Edge celebrate the 40th anniversary of the day the late Beatle got his green card on Ellis Island Wednesday.|
"I just wish John was with us," she said. "Please be kind, be peaceful, and be loving."
The event, organized by Amnesty International, also celebrated Ono's gift of the rights to record cover versions of Lennon's post-Beatles songs to the human rights group, which has raised more than $5 million in royalties.
A tapestry showing Manhattan as a giant yellow submarine with Lennon at the helm — commissioned by Amnesty as a thank you to Ono — was donated to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation for display at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and unveiled Wednesday.
Mark-Viverito flashed a peace sign along with Bono, Ono and U2's The Edge in front of the tapestry after declaring July 29 “John Lennon Day” in New York City.
Bono claimed John Lennon and the rest of The Beatles as Irish at a ceremony on Ellis Island off New York City to unveil a giant tapestry marking the 40th anniversary of the Liverpudlian singer getting his US green card.
Speaking in the presence of the former Beatle’s widow Yoko Ono, Bono evoked the famous image of Lennon holding up his two fingers in a peace sign on Ellis Island with the Statue of Liberty behind him.
“That’s why it is fitting to do this here, because John Lennon was an immigrant,” said Bono, before an audience that included U2 guitarist The Edge and Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.
“He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell’s Kitchen. He didn’t climb up out of steerage with all his potatoes in a single suitcase. But John Lennon was an immigrant all the same.”
Bono noted in his speech that the first immigrant through Ellis Island was Annie Moore from Cobh, Co Cork, who came through the door’s of the island’s immigration facility on New Year’s Day 1892.
He referred to the Irish parentage of all four of the Beatles, describing Lennon as “one more Irish immigrant on an island full of Irish immigrants”.
“Let’s claim him, in fact let’s claim all the Beatles not as immigrants but as Irish,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
He paid tribute to Lennon, saying his music registered with him and The Edge growing up as teenagers in Dublin. Lennon offered words like All You Need Is Love to him and others “not as a balm but as a kind of dare”.
“Give Peace A Chance – there’s another dare. Will we?” asked Bono.
Speaking of the day Lennon discovered he had been granted a green card, Ms Ono said “I heard his heart beating fast, I remember how proud he was.” To mark the date, the speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito declared July 29th as “John Lennon Day”.
The tapestry has been donated to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation for display at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The cost of the commission by New York-based Czech artist Peter Sis was covered by Bono, The Edge and music business impresario Jimmy Iovine.
This is the third tapestry to be commissioned by Mr Shipsey. An art piece honouring former Czech president Vaclav Havel, also by Sis, was unveiled in Prague and funded by Bono, The Edge, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono, while a tapestry by Sis dedicated to the late Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney hangs in Dublin Airport.