EastBay Today

Posted November 30, 2018

The Lighting of a Beacon

Concord campus to honor Pearl Harbor veterans, anniversary

On Dec. 7, Cal State East Bay will join other organizations in the area to honor survivors of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack by relighting the beacon atop Mount Diablo.

“When that beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Earl ’Chuck‘ Kohler, one of the few remaining survivors in Contra Costa County.

For the sixth straight year, the ceremony will be held at the Cal State East Bay campus in Concord with a reception in the Oak Room and a ceremony to follow. The beacon lighting will take place at 5 p.m. and once lit, will shine all night.

"Pearl Harbor remains one of the most important events in world history, for the attack not only brought the United States into the Second World War; it ensured the eventual defeat of the Axis powers and their ambitions of global conquest,” said Robert Phelps, director of Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus. “The collective sacrifice that began at Pearl Harbor is one of the main reasons we call the World War Two generation, 'America's greatest generation,' and Cal State East Bay is pleased to play a part of this annual event."

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 CA and is the only one known to be still 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, commander in chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, relit the beacon in a commemorative ceremony and suggested it be illuminated every Dec. 7 to honor those who served and sacrificed.

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

The Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5 are co-sponsoring the event with Save Mount Diablo.

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