At Christmas in 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented billboards in 11 cities across the world with the simple message: War Is Over! (If You Want It) Merry Christmas from John & Yoko.” It was the height of the bloody and useless Vietnam War and the message was simple and elegant: the war  – and by extension other events in the world – isn’t out of our hands. We have the power to make a difference. If we want it bad enough, we can end the war. And not just that war, but all war.

Well over thirty years later we’re embroiled in another bloody and useless war. John Lennon is no longer with us, but the simple message of “War Is Over!” remains as powerful now as it was then. And today people in New York City will look up and again see that message on a billboard. Sure, it’s advertising for the new documentary The US Vs John Lennon, but the message is just as valid. And while I haven’t seen the film yet, I understand that it’s incredibly relevant to today, as it’s about a power-mad US government attempting to squash a voice for peace and freedom. I mean, I can hardly imagine that happening right now, could you?

The image above is the original New York billboard from 1969. I hope to have a picture of the new one, located at 7th Street and 10th Avenue, soon. There will also be a “War Is Over!” billboard going up in Los Angeles on the 15th, but people there have no souls, so the effort might be wasted.

Check out the official The US Vs John Lennon website here for more info. On September 26 a soundtrack album will be released, which will compile some of Lennon’s best and most conscious songs, as well as two unreleased tracks: Attica State recorded live at a John Sinclair Rally in 1971 and an instrumental version of How Do You Sleep, John’s vicious attack on Paul McCartney and a fascinating look at the other side of the man who asked everyone to just Give Peace A Chance.

The film hits theaters in September.