Mt. Diablo Beacon Lighting Ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 7

Mount Diablo Summit Beacon. By Stephen Joseph.

On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

By Laura Kindsvater, Communications Manager, Save Mount Diablo  

On December 7th, Mount Diablo’s Beacon will be relit by a survivor of Pearl Harbor supported by a Save Mount Diablo team.

The Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5 are pleased to co-sponsor this 59th Annual National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Beacon Lighting Ceremony with Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, and California State University, East Bay.

We invite you to attend the ceremony to pay tribute to the lives that were lost and honor our surviving veterans of Pearl Harbor. The ceremony will be held at the California State University, East Bay Concord Campus, at 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord.

Viewing of the new USS Arizona exhibit at the CSUEB Concord Campus will be available from 3:00 PM to 3:45 PM as well as 45 minutes post ceremony. The ceremony will commence at 3:45 PM.

The program begins with the posting of colors, pledge of allegiance, and national anthem.

Ted Clement, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo; Clint Elsholz, Acting Diablo Range District Superintendent for California State Parks; and Robert Phelps, PhD, Executive Director of California State University, East Bay Concord Campus will then speak.

Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance will be introduced by Wayne Korsinen, honorary member of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

A performance of “God Bless the USA” by Erin Hegerty and guitar solo by Darren Brouestle will follow. Then Catharine Baker, former State Assemblymember, will speak. Afterwards, Frank Dorritie of Bugles Across America will perform “Taps.” At 5 PM, the Beacon will be lit.

“The Beacon lighting is a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” remarked Earl “Chuck” Kohler, the last known remaining serviceman survivor in Contra Costa County.

The ceremony is also an opportunity to honor the survivors.

The ceremony will also be broadcast on Contra Costa Television during the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, December 14 at 7 PM
  • Thursday, December 15 at 2 AM
  • Saturday, December 17 at 5:30 PM
  • Monday, December 19 at 8 PM
  • Tuesday, December 20 at 10 AM
  • Wednesday, December 21 at 5 PM
  • Thursday, December 22 at 6 PM

The Beacon on Mount Diablo was originally installed and illuminated in 1928 to aid in transcontinental aviation. It is one of the four guiding beacons installed along the west coast by Standard Oil of California and is the only one known to still be operational.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Beacon’s light was extinguished 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.

The Beacon now shines brighter than ever since it underwent an extensive restoration process in 2013 (thanks to 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. Beginning this year, it was also lit on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. On Sunday, April 11, 2021, Save Mount Diablo concluded a year of lighting the Beacon weekly to bring light and hope to our region during the worst of the pandemic.

About Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, watersheds, and connection to the Diablo Range 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 educational and recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources. To learn more, please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.

What:  Save Mount Diablo; the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Chapter 5; and California State Parks will light the “Eye of Diablo,” the Beacon atop Mount Diablo to memorialize National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. As the number of survivors has decreased over the years, the number of people attending the ceremony in honor of these heroes has increased, including many sons and daughters vital to organizing the service.

When: Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

USS Arizona viewing begins at 3:00 PM, ceremony at 3:45 PM, Beacon lighting at 5:00 PM

Where: The ceremony will be held at the California State University, East Bay Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road, in Concord.

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/jXhcW

Access: Parking is available on campus, and parking fees will be waived for this event. See campus map.

For more information on the Beacon visit: https://savemountdiablo.org/experience/events-outings/beacon-lighting/

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