Families of Pearl Harbor survivors to light Mt. Diablo beacon Dec. 7

Families of Pearl Harbor survivors to light Mt. Diablo beacon Dec. 7
Eye of Diablo. (Stephen Joseph photo)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Nov. 28, 2021) — On December 7th, survivors of Pearl Harbor will  relight Mount Diablo’s Beacon.

The Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5 have co-sponsored this 58th Annual National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Beacon Lighting Ceremony with Save Mount Diablo and California State University, East Bay. Save Mount Diablo invites you to attend the ceremony. The event pays tribute to the lives lost and honor surviving veterans of Pearl Harbor.

Weather permitting, the ceremony will take place outdoors at the California State University, East Bay Concord Campus. The California State University system requires all campus visitors to be vaccinated or have a valid exemption. Find the campus at 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord.

Viewing of the new USS Arizona exhibit at the CSUEB Concord Campus will be available from 3 to 3:45 PM as well as 45 minutes post ceremony.

The outdoor ceremony will commence at 3:45 PM.

Opening ceremony

The program begins with the posting of colors, pledge of allegiance, and national anthem. Following that, Ted Clement will deliver opening remarks. Clement is Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo

Next, Eddie Guaracha, Diablo Range District Superintendent for California State Parks, will give ceremonial observations.

Robert Phelps, PhD, Executive Director of CSU, East Bay Concord Campus will then speak. Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance will also speak. A performance of “America the Beautiful” by Erin Hegerty will follow.

Frank Dorritie of Bugles Across America will perform “Taps.”

“The Beacon lighting is a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” remarked Earl “Chuck” Kohler, one of the few remaining survivors in Contra Costa County. The ceremony also honors the survivors.

Guiding beacon

Originally installed in 1928, the Beacon on Mount Diablo aided transcontinental aviation. Standard Oil of California installed this and 3 other guiding beacons along the west coast. Only Mt. Diablo’s beacon still operates.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Beacon’s light went dark during the west coast blackout, for fear it could enable an attack on California. It stayed dark until Pearl Harbor Day in 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, relit the Beacon in a commemorative ceremony and suggested it be illuminated every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Since that day, Pearl Harbor veterans and their families have gathered every December 7th to see the Beacon light shine once again.

Brighter than ever

The Beacon now shines brighter than ever since it underwent an extensive restoration process in 2013. This came as a result of a campaign led by Save Mount Diablo to ensure it continues to shine for many more years. The Pearl Harbor Survivors now know that the Beacon will shine long after they are gone.

The Beacon is lit at sunset and shines all night on this evening each year. The beacon’s last lighting occured Sunday, April 11, 2021. At that time, Save Mount Diablo concluded a year of lighting it weekly to bring light and hope to our region during the worst of the pandemic.

Save Mount Diablo, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and nationally accredited land trust, started in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. To learn more and to support Save Mount Diablo, please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.