John Lennon Day in New York celebrated on Ellis Island

The Edge, Yoko Ono and Bono attend John Lennon Day celebrations on Ellis Island in New York.

The Edge, Yoko Ono and Bono attend John Lennon Day celebrations on Ellis Island in New York.

(Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)

U2 singer Bono and guitarist the Edge joined Yoko Ono and various dignitaries on Ellis Island on Wednesday for New York City’s inaugural John Lennon Day. They were there to unveil artwork dedicated to the late Beatle.

A tapestry commissioned by Art for Amnesty and installed at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration depicts Manhattan as a giant yellow submarine with Lennon at the helm.

The event was held to commemorate next year’s 40th anniversary of Lennon being granted a green card allowing him to reside in the U.S. He had battled the U.S. Immigration Service’s efforts to deport him in the 1970s on the grounds he’d pleaded guilty to marijuana possession a decade previously.

Lennon and Ono believed officials in the Nixon administration wanted him deported because of his outspoken opposition to U.S. policy during the Vietnam War.


“I remember how proud and happy he was” to be able to stay in the U.S., Ono said, according to the New York Daily News. “I’m sure John would have felt great to have a New York day.”

During Bono’s stint at the microphone, he said, “They let him stay and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here.” Ono also still maintains a residence in New York, where Lennon was killed in 1980.

The John Lennon Day celebration was organized by Amnesty International in gratitude to Ono for allowing access to Lennon’s post-Beatles catalog for Lennon tribute recordings by other artists to help raise money to support the human rights organization’s activities worldwide.

“It is our hope that this beautiful tapestry ... will serve as a reminder to extend John Lennon’s message of peace and love to all of those who leave their homes in search of a better life,” Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said in a statement.

“I just wish John [were] with us,” Ono, 82, told onlookers. “Please be kind, be peaceful, and be loving.”

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