Mount Diablo Beacon Initiative to Honor Veterans

Light beacon shining at night

A joint proclamation was signed on February 25, 2022, at the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville, to light the Beacon on Mount Diablo to honor veterans on Pearl Harbor Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day from sunset to sunrise, beginning in 2022 and every year thereafter.

The lighting of the Beacon this coming Memorial Day will happen after sunset on Monday, May 30th, Memorial Day. The Beacon will shine throughout the night and then be rested shortly after sunrise on Tuesday, May 31st.

Mount Diablo Summit Beacon

The Mount Diablo Summit Beacon at sunrise. Photo by Ted Clement.

The signatories to the joint proclamation were:

  • Alan Kalin COL, USA (Ret.), Mount Diablo Beacon Initiative Coordinator, American Legion Mount Diablo Post 246
  • Kathleen Farley, President, Pearl Harbor Survivors Sons and Daughters Chapter 5
  • Mark Heinemann, Commander, Mount Diablo American Legion Post 246
  • Eduardo Guaracha, Superintendent, Diablo Range District, California State Parks
  • Mark DeSaulnier, US Congressmember
  • Steve Glazer, California Senator
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, California Assemblymember
  • Candace Andersen, Contra Costa Supervisor
  • Karen Stepper, Town of Danville Councilmember and Honorary Member of Pearl Harbor Survivors
  • Ted Clement, Executive Director, Save Mount Diablo
  • John Gallagher, Board Member, Save Mount Diablo
Mount Diablo peak and Beacon

Mount Diablo’s summit and the Beacon as seen from above. Photo taken via kite by Cris Benton.

Numerous veteran organizations and representatives endorsed this initiative, such as:

  • The American Legion, Department of California, District 9 in Contra Costa County, which includes eight posts:Harding-Nola Post 161, Antioch; Roy Frerichs Post 202, Brentwood; Post 331, Concord and Pleasant Hill; Mount Diablo Post 246, Danville; Louis Hagen Post 340, El Cerrito; Post 517, Lafayette; Henry A. McNamara Post 29, Martinez; David A. Solari Post 151, Pittsburg
  • The American Legion, Mount Diablo Post 246, Danville, Commander Mark Heinemann
  • The American Legion, Department of California, District 9 (Contra Costa County), Commander Mike Clement
  • Sons and Daughters Pearl Harbor Survivors, State Chair and Chapter 5 President Kathleen Farley
  • Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley, Commander Dennis Giacovelli
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 75, Commander Mike Regan
  • Marine Corps League, Mount Diablo Detachment 942, Commandant Ed Stevenson
  • Sentinels of Freedom, Mike Conklin, Chairman and CEO
  • Military Officers Association of America, Contra Costa County Chapter, President Patricia Wernet
  • Blue Star Moms, Chapter 101, Contra Costa County, Co-Presidents Christine McCracken and Stacey Nigro
  • Blue Star Moms, Chapter 20, Contra Costa County, President Loretta Masnada
Pearl Harbor Survivor Chuck Kohler speaking at Beacon lighting ceremony on December 7 2021

Pearl Harbor Survivor Chuck Kohler speaking at the Beacon lighting ceremony on December 7, 2021. Photo by Floyd McCluhan.

California State Parks is the owner of the Mount Diablo Beacon, and the nonprofit land conservation organization Save Mount Diablo maintains and operates the Beacon.

The Mount Diablo Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shone from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was not relit until December 7, 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit in commemoration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested that the Beacon be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, and California State University East Bay Concord Campus organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7 in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Save Mount Diablo also lit the Beacon every Sunday after sunset, followed by resting it every Monday after sunrise, during the darkest period of the pandemic from April 2020 through April 2021. California State Parks and Save Mount Diablo will now work to ensure the Beacon is lit every Memorial Day and Veterans Day to further honor our veterans.

The Beacon at sunrise

The Mount Diablo Beacon at sunrise in April 2021. Photo by Floyd McCluhan.

Top image by Stephen Joseph

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