This December 7th, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, three local survivors of World War II’s “Day of Infamy”—the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941—will share their stories as part of a virtual ceremony filmed primarily atop Mount Diablo.
Sponsors of the yearly event, including local land trust Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, and California State University–East Bay, are proud to present a virtual celebration this year beginning at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday, December 7th.
In a 45-minute video, three local East Bay survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack will recount their experiences that fateful day. Speakers will then pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and honor those yet living, “Lest We Forget” the tragedy that befell the country nearly eight decades ago and the way we came together after the attack.
As a final tribute, the “Eye of Diablo” Beacon will be lit, to shine throughout the night as a tribute to those who served and as a reminder of our strength as a nation when we come together.
“When that Beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler from Concord.
Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director Ted Clement noted, “This year it is especially important that we come together as a nation to honor National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and those who served. Reflecting on that day and the aftermath reminds us of the strength of our nation when we come together even amidst great adversity. Our December 7th virtual event will enable more people to come together on this important day.”
Eddie Guaracha, California State Parks Diablo Range District Superintendent, stated, “As we reflect on this historic event, it is not only critical to remember the many lives that were lost, but also to remember the selfless acts undertaken by many on this fateful day. This is the spirit of our country in critical times. It is an honor to represent California State Parks on this momentous occasion, and I hope we can all remember to radiate kindness toward one another, as we remember those who gave all on this day.”
“As we pass through difficult, often divisive times ourselves, the sacrifices borne by the American people following that fateful morning some 79 years ago should give us all an enormous sense of pride, and most importantly, hope for the future. Cal State East Bay is honored to once again participate in this annual act of remembrance,” said Robert Phelps, Director of the California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus).
The U.S. Postal Service, in commemoration of this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, is issuing a special pictorial postmark. The postmark can be obtained by following the instructions here.
Those interested in witnessing this year’s virtual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony can find the video link on Save Mount Diablo’s home page at 4:30 PM on December 7th at www.savemountdiablo.org.
Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo’s summit.
The 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, California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7th in honor of the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
One of the bright lights provided to the San Francisco Bay Area during this pandemic is the Mount Diablo Beacon, which Save Mount Diablo staff and volunteers light every Sunday night after sunset so that the Beacon can shine brightly through the darkness until it is rested after sunrise on Monday.
Save Mount Diablo’s lighting of the Beacon every week is a way to thank our heroes in these troubling times, to help our communities come together, and to remind people to lift their eyes to the light and nature.
Save Mount Diablo began this weekly lighting of the Beacon on Sunday, April 12th, Easter Sunday. However, the Beacon will not be lit on Sunday, November 29th and Sunday, December 6th to build anticipation for and honor the coming National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. After the December 7th ceremonial lighting of the Beacon, Save Mount Diablo will resume the weekly lighting of the Beacon for as long as the pandemic rages here.
Save Mount Diablo
SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.
California State Parks
To provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov.
Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors
It is the mission of the SDPHS to create programs that inspire youth and adults to learn and document the history of the beginning of WWII and the days that followed from people who experienced it and from their ancestors. Learn more at www.sdphs.org.
California State University–East Bay
Cal State East Bay welcomes and supports a diverse student body with academically rich, culturally relevant learning experiences that prepare students to apply their education to meaningful lifework, and to be socially responsible contributors to society. Through its educational programs and activities, the university strives to meet the educational needs and to contribute to the vitality of the East Bay, the state, the nation, and global communities. Learn more at www.csueastbay.edu.
Pictorial Postmark Announcement
As a community service, the Postal Service™ offers pictorial postmarks to commemorate local events celebrated in communities throughout the nation.
Those who wish to obtain the postmark may submit a mail order request. Requests must be postmarked no later than 30 days following the requested pictorial postmark date.
All requests must include a stamped envelope or postcard bearing at least the minimum First-Class Mail® postage. Items submitted for postmark may not include postage issued after the date of the requested postmark. Such items will be returned unserviced.
Customers wishing to obtain a postmark must affix stamps to any envelope or postcard of their choice, address the envelope or postcard to themselves or others, insert a card of postcard thickness in envelopes for sturdiness, and tuck in the flap. Place the envelope or postcard in a larger envelope and address it to: Pictorial Postmarks, followed by the Name of the Station, Address, City, State, ZIP+4® Code, as listed next to the postmark.
Customers can also send stamped envelopes and postcards without addresses for postmark, as long as they supply a larger envelope with adequate postage and their return address. After applying the pictorial postmark, the Postal Service returns the items (with or without addresses) under addressed protective cover.
High resolution photos, video, and press release files: https://bit.ly/LightBeacon2020
Captions and image credits:
- Mount Diablo’s Beacon lights the nighttime sky on December 7. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.
- Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler (standing) speaking at the Beacon Lighting Ceremony on December 7, 2018. Credit: Richard Usinger.
- The Beacon at sunrise on November 16, 2020, right before it was put to rest for the week. Credit: Ted Clement.
- Three Pearl Harbor survivors and the crowd celebrating the Beacon being lit and looking up to the Summit of Mount Diablo from the California State University–East Bay Concord Campus on December 7, 2018. Credit: Richard Usinger.
- For other photos of the Beacon, please credit photographers as noted in each image file name.