By Laura Kindsvater, Communications Intern, Save Mount Diablo
WALNUT CREEK, CA—Mount Diablo State Park’s Beacon will be lit after sunset in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Easter Sunday, April 12. Thereafter, until the pandemic crisis is over, the Beacon will be lit every Sunday after sunset and shine brightly until sunrise the next day.
Ted Clement, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo, stated, “Lighting the Beacon every Sunday is a way to honor our heroes in this global pandemic struggle, to pay our respects to the dead and those suffering, to lift our eyes to higher ground and the light and be reminded of the healing power of nature and our Mount Diablo, and to bring our communities together during this difficult time.”
Save Mount Diablo staff and volunteers will be working on lighting the Beacon every Sunday, and turning it off every Monday after sunrise, in close coordination with their good partners at California State Parks. Physical distancing will be followed throughout. This effort has also been coordinated with the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5.
Save Mount Diablo; California State Parks; the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5; California State University – East Bay (Concord); and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7 in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Eduardo Guaracha, Diablo Range Superintendent of California State Parks, said, “As we look up in the sky, let this beacon remind us we are not alone. Our thoughts and support are with the heroes, healthcare and emergency workers, and all those affected by this worldwide pandemic. Let the light give us hope for a better future and remind us to keep our heads and spirits up.”
The Beacon on Mount Diablo was originally installed and illuminated in 1928 to aid in transcontinental aviation. It is one of the five 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 might 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 December 7 to honor those who served and sacrificed.
Since that day, Pearl Harbor veterans and their families have gathered every December 7 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.