Mount Diablo beacon to illuminate again on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Friday ceremony to pay tribute to casualties, survivors of infamous attacks

To honor those who died in the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5, along with Save Mount Diablo, will be holding their annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Mount Diablo Beacon Lighting Ceremony this Friday on the 77th anniversary of the infamous date.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Mount Diablo beacon’s light -- which was used to help aid transcontinental aviation -- was extinguished during the West Coast blackout, for fear it could help guide attackers to the Bay Area.

The beacon was not reignited until Pearl Harbor Day 1964, when it was illuminated for one night -- a tradition that has continued for 55 years.

“The beacon lighting is a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor," said Earl "Chuck" Kohler, one of the few remaining survivors living in Contra Costa County.

The ceremony begins at 3:45 p.m. Friday with opening remarks by Ryen Goering, Contra-Solano Sector superintendent of California State Parks, and Ted Clement, executive director of Save Mount Diablo.

Commemorative thoughts will be shared by Dr. Robert Phelps, executive director of the Cal State East Bay Concord Campus and a Save Mount Diablo board member, before the introduction of the Pearl Harbor survivors.

After a performance of “America the Beautiful” by Steve Barton, a Vietnam War-era helicopter -- provided by the Vietnam Helicopters Museum -- will fly over the ceremony toward the beacon at precisely 4:45 p.m., preceding the 5 p.m. beacon lighting.

The beacon will shine all night as a reminder of the many people who lost their lives in the attack.

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 on Friday. The ceremony begins at 3:45 p.m. but residents are encouraged to begin arriving at 3 p.m. for an opening reception.

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