John Lennon would have turned 71 today, and Yoko Ono, his widow, commemorated his birthday and legacy by live-streaming the lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower at 4 p.m. EST in Iceland.
The Imagine Peace Tower takes 15 searchlights and condenses their rays, using mirrors that act as prisms, to create a single beam of light that extends 4,000 meters into the air. The prisms reflect the column vertically into the sky from a 10-meter-wide wishing well inscribed with the words Imagine Peace in 24 different languages on its base. Buried underneath the light tower are more than 500,000 written wishes that Ono gathered over the years and collected in another project, called Wish Trees.
The Tower is located in Vioey Islan, Kollafjorour Bay, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Ono began construction on the site in early 2006 and officially switched the tower on in 2007. The opening ceremony was broadcast internationally to numerous television stations. Ono, her son, Sean Lennon, and Ringo Starr, as well as George Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, and Olivia's son, Dhani Harrison, attended the ceremony. Former bandmate and songwriting partner Paul McCartney was invited but could not attend.
The tower is lit every year from Oct. 9, John Lennon's birthday, to Dec. 8, the anniversary of his death. The ceremony began at 8 p.m. in Iceland (4pm EST).
In a statement released for this year's ceremony, Ono asked fans of the former Beatles star to tweet wishes to the Imagine Peace Tower Twitter page (@IPTower), or to send wishes by mail or e-mail, or through Facebook. I hope the Imagine Peace Tower will give light to the strong wishes of World Peace from all corners of the planet, she said, and give encouragement, inspiration and a sense of solidarity in a world now filled with fear and confusion.
Let us come together to realize a peaceful world. Love is our energy. Wisdom is our power. It's time to shed light to all corners of the world. Enjoy the trip we make together.