The beacon atop Mount Diablo, which volunteers have lit each Sunday during the COVID-19 pandemic, will see its weekly illumination conclude this weekend on the one-year anniversary of the program.
The "Eye of Diablo" had traditionally been lit once a year on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, but last year nonprofit Save Mount Diablo decided to light the beacon weekly to honor health workers and COVID-19 victims during the pandemic. This Monday morning, the beacon will be turned off for the final time in the special program and rested until Dec. 7.
"The decision to conclude these efforts is based on the COVID-19 vaccines becoming increasingly well distributed. Furthermore, there have been tier-level improvements in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the pandemic is not over, we have turned the corner for the better," Save Mount Diablo officials said this week.
This week's beacon lighting will begin shortly after sunset on Sunday (April 11) and continue overnight until shortly after sunrise on Monday, repeating the process that has occurred weekly since the first pandemic illumination on April 12, 2020.
"We light the Mount Diablo Beacon to thank our heroes, to honor those who have passed and are suffering, to bring our communities together, and to remind people to look up to the light and the healing power of nature," Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo executive director, said in a statement.
"I want to thank two special Save Mount Diablo volunteers, John Gallagher and Dick Heron, who helped me with this year-long effort," Clement added.
Save Mount Diablo, which will continue its regular care and maintenance of the beacon, organizes the annual lighting on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day along with California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5 and California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), among others.
The historic beacon, originally lit in 1928 by Charles Lindbergh to assist pilots during the early days of commercial aviation, shone on the summit of Mount Diablo every night until Dec. 8, 1941, when it was turned off as a defense strategy in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks.
The "Eye of Diablo" would not be relit until Dec. 7, 1964 in commemoration of Pearl Harbor survivors. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of Pacific Forces during World War II who was in attendance at the ceremony, suggested that the beacon be illuminated every year on Dec. 7 to honor those who served and sacrificed.