With a little help from his friends, John Lennon remains a shining example of the beauty that can arise from giving peace a chance.
On what would have been her late husband's 67th birthday, Yoko Ono was in Iceland Tuesday to dedicate the Imagine Peace Tower, a 65-foot-tall wishing well emitting a blue stream of light into the night sky from an island in Reykjavik's harbor. The permanent part of the installation is engraved with the words "imagine peace" in 24 languages.
"I hope Imagine Peace Tower will give light to the strong wishes of world peace from all corners of the planet and give encouragement, inspiration and a sense of solidarity in a world filled with fear and confusion," Ono, 74, said in a statement.
"I consider myself very fortunate to see the dream my husband and I dreamt together become reality," she told the BBC on Tuesday.
Ono, who designed the sculpture 40 years ago, spent the day in Iceland's capital city with friends, family and fellow peace activists before taking the short jaunt to Videy Island for the unveiling. Accompanying her were son Sean Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison's widow, Olivia.
"Imagine" played in the background as Ono flipped the switch.
Ono said that she chose Iceland not only because of the country's lush, green beauty but also because of its green principles.
"Because of these clean natural energy sources, the water and the air in Iceland are clean, so clean that you can actually feel it," Ono said.
The volcanic island relies largely on natural power, and the Imagine Peace Tower will be fueled solely by geothermal energy.
Hatfort Ingvason, the director of Reykjavik's John Lennon Museum, told the BBC's Radio 5 that Ono also selected their country because of Iceland's long-standing reputation as a peaceful nation.
"It was importantly positioned between the two superpowers during the Cold War—between the Soviet Union and the United States," Ingvason said. "She wanted this tower of light, this peace beacon between the superpowers to remind everybody that peace was possible."
The tower will be illuminated every year from Lennon's birthday until Dec. 8, the anniversary of his death, as well as on New Year's Eve and during the first week of spring. The Beatles icon was gunned down outside his New York apartment building by Mark David Chapman in 1980.
"I cannot promise that I will be here every year for the lighting of the tower, but I feel like I am part of Iceland now and I will try to come as often as I can," Ono said.
In an additional nod to unity and compassion, more than 100,000 wishes sent in from people around the world will be sealed in capsules and buried around the tower.