Concord, CA – The strong winter chill has moved this Saturday’s Mount Diablo Beacon Lighting Ceremony down from the mountain’s summit. The unusually low temperatures and biting winds raised concerns about hosting the 50th lighting atop Diablo due to the likelihood of ice and concern for the comfort of those in attendance, particularly local Pearl Harbor Survivors who will light the newly restored Beacon for the first time.
The public ceremony to honor those who served at Pearl Harbor and to celebrate the rejuvenated Beacon that will shine in their memory has been moved to the Oak Room of the Library at the Concord Campus of California State East Bay.
A commemorative symbol of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, the Beacon is relit by Survivors each year in a ceremony attended by their families and the public. Although the ceremony has been held at the Summit Building, this is not the first time it has been moved due to the mountain tops devilish winter weather over the last 50 years. The Survivors remain undaunted and from sunset this Saturday, December 7th, to sunrise the next morning, the Beacon will shine brighter than ever before.
This year’s event is expected to be the largest yet, with local Pearl Harbor survivors and community members eager to see the restored Beacon shine anew. The evening will include presentations by several local Pearl Harbor survivors, California State Parks and Save Mount Diablo, the non-profit organization that coordinated the restoration project.
“We are grateful to have been involved in the restoration of this historic symbol of freedom,” said Ron Brown, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo. “Its restoration ensures the memory of those who lost their lives on that historic day will continue to live on.”
The Beacon was originally installed and illuminated in 1928 to aid in trans-continental aviation. It is one of the four guiding beacons installed along the west coast by Standard Oil of CA 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 may enable an attack on California. It stayed dark until Pearl Harbor Day 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz 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 revisited Mount Diablo’s summit every December 7th to see the light shine once again.
Over the years, the Beacon fell into severe disrepair thereby requiring significant restoration. With the California State Parks’ limited budget and a need to move quickly, Save Mount Diablo volunteered to fundraise and organize the Beacon Restoration Project. In the process, many individuals and businesses stepped up to help restore the historic Beacon, including Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Contra Costa Times Columnist Joan Morris and her readers, Shell Refinery in Martinez, Maxim Crane and Chevron.
What: The unusually low temperatures and biting winds raised concerns about hosting the 50th lighting atop Diablo due to the likelihood of ice and concern for the comfort of those in attendance, particularly local Pearl Harbor Survivors who will light the newly restored Beacon for the first time.
When: Saturday, December 7, 3:45pm – 5pm
Where: The ceremony will be held in the Oak Room of the Library Building at the California State East Bay Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord, CA 94521.
Who: Save Mount Diablo, the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and California State Parks will light the “Eye of Diablo”, Mount Diablo’s Beacon,
Why: The Mount Diablo Beacon is lit each December 7th to memorialize Pearl Harbor Day and remember those who served.
For more information about the Beacon Lighting Ceremony: please visit http://www.savemountdiablo.org/activities_events_beacon.html or contact Save Mount Diablo’s office at (925) 947-3535
Save Mount Diablo is a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization, which has been preserving lands on and around Mount Diablo and educating the public to the mountain’s natural values since 1971. Preserved lands have increased from 6,788 acres in one park to more than 110,000 acres in more than 40 parks and preserves. Save Mount Diablo continues to preserve, defend and restore the remainder of the mountain for people and wildlife to enjoy. Contact: Save Mount Diablo, telephone: (925) 947-3535, fax: (925) 947-0642, 1901 Olympic Blvd., Suite 320, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; www.SaveMountDiablo.org
Photo Credit: Clayton Worsdell
God bless all the men and women along with their families who fought in the wars so we could be free.
It was really cool to see that beacon shining this evening. It took a minute to figure out what that light on top of Mt. Diablo was since I admire that mountain every evening. What a great show of respect for our veterans.
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