Sands  /  AP file
John Lennon arrives at The Hit Factory, a recording studio in New York City in this Aug. 22, 1980 file photo.
updated 11/14/2005 1:36:34 PM ET 2005-11-14T18:36:34

Dateline interviewed different people who knew, admired, and crossed paths with John Lennon. Below, are excerpts of their remembrances of the music legend, as told to "Dateline."

And share your own personal tribute to John Lennon in the mailbag provided below.

Steven Spiro, the arresting officer for Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon  
"I used to see John Lennon walking the streets of West 72nd Street.  Sometimes when I was working days, I’d be working West 72nd and John would walk the streets with (son) Sean on his back on a little knapsack type of thing and go into the stores.  Nobody would bother him. He’d be very polite, 'Good afternoon, officer.' And that’s why he loved New York.  Because people respected his privacy and that’s what was great about it.  He loved it there."

Bob Gruen, Lennon photographer and friend, on the famous photo of John Lennon
"I had given him that New York City shirt about a year earlier. And I used to wear them all the time. I was very proud of being from New York. And we were up on a rooftop taking pictures of his apartment.  He had a penthouse apartment at the time.  And we were taking pictures for his album cover.  And then he suggested we take some more pictures so we have a lot of publicity photos available.  And I remembered I had given him that shirt. And I said, 'Do you still have it?  Because here’s the whole skyline of New York all around us.' And he knew right where it was, went and got it and put it on.  And he just was comfortable being a New Yorker.  And I suggested it because I knew he was really happy in New York and he really kind of described New York as the center of the world and said 'If I was living in the time of Rome, I would go to Rome.  But I’m living in the time now, so I’ll be in New York.'

Dr. Stephen Lynn, who operated on John Lennon the night he died, Roosevelt Hospital's director of emergency services
"I knew John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, and their son Sean were my neighbors. They lived two or three blocks away from me. Their favorite Japanese restaurant was my favorite Japanese restaurant, then at the corner of 69th and Columbus. My daughters grew up on sushi. And frequently, I would see John and Yoko sitting at the next table. In that era, as now, we didn’t stop and say, 'Hey, you’re John Lennon.' We let them eat and enjoy themselves just as we did. Sean Lennon went to my daughter’s school. Everybody knew that. No one thought anything about it. They were members of my community. They supported Thanksgiving Dinner at Project Find on 71St and Columbus.  I was used to seeing John Lennon on the streets of my community.

Image: Lynn
Richard Drew  /  AP
Dr. Stephan Lynn, emergency room director of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, was the attending physician the night John Lennon was admitted after he was shot outside the Dakota apartment building, Dec. 8, 1980.
I think it’s just recently that I’ve begun to really figure out that I was there, for better or for worse, at a critical time in history. I wonder, on occasion, what my life might have been like had the outcome been different. The world for me was quite different a few weeks later [after his death]. I never saw Yoko Ono walking in the neighborhood again. I know that Sean Lennon went to the same school as my daughter as he did before, but now there was an armed security guard at the entrance of the school and his class.

The world has changed tremendously since that time. I wonder—on frequent occasions—what it might have been like had a person like John Lennon—with his vision and his sense of world peace, had he survived. There is still a drug store, near the corner of 72nd and Columbus, which has a big picture of John Lennon in its window that says, 'Peace now.' And I still walk by it and wonder what it might have been had John Lennon still been here."


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