Lighting the Beacon

//Lighting the Beacon
Lighting the Beacon 2018-07-13T19:39:44+00:00

Beacon Lighting Ceremony

December 7, 2018 at 3:45 PM, lighting at 5:00 PM

The Beacon is lit at sunset and shines all night on this single evening each year.

Lest We Forget

We invite you to attend the beacon lighting ceremony to pay tribute to and honor our veterans.

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. When those who experienced Pearl Harbor are gone, the history is lost with them. That tragedy should never happen again, “Lest We Forget.” The “Eye of Diablo” as it’s known, was extinguished in 1941 just after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  In 1964, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, relit the Beacon the first time and suggested it be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors and Save Mount Diablo are grateful for the assistance and support from Mount Diablo State Park, CCTV, California State University East Bay Concord Campus, Vietnam Helicopters Museum and the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. 

The Eye of Diablo

Commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

A day that will live in infamy, and in our hearts forever.

The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shined 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.

Since that day in 1964, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and now the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors with co-sponsor Save Mount Diablo have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by turning on the summit Beacon atop Mount Diablo. The Beacon now shines on that single night each year.

Restoring the Beacon Atop Mount Diablo

The “Eye” is one of the last remaining working beacons from the transcontinental string of guides.

The Beacon now shines brighter than ever since it underwent an extensive restoration process in 2013 to ensure it continues to shine for many more years.

For the last several years until its recent restoration in 2013, the Beacon was in such significant disrepair that it was always a concern as to whether or not it would light. In spite of budget cuts and tightening of belts, then-Assemblymember Buchanan wrote and helped pass legislation to allow Save Mount Diablo to oversee the work and fundraising for the Beacon’s restoration on behalf of California State Parks.

Many businesses volunteered services for the project. Shell Refinery in Martinez and Maxim Crane donated a crane and rigging crew to assist with the removal and return of the Beacon to the Summit Building. Local companies like Redwood Painting and Global Village provided some of the services and expertise for the Beacon’s repairs. To help raise the remaining funds needed to properly rehabilitate the Beacon, Chevron created a Public Service Announcement about the project and the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation matched donations up to $50,000 to help reach the $100,000 goal for the project.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors now know that the Beacon will shine long after they are gone.

Want to Know More?

View media coverage of the Mount Diablo Beacon Restoration Project:

View photos of the restoration process.
Listen to the KCBS report about the Beacon Restoration.
Read the Contra Costa Times story about the Beacon Restoration Team.
Watch videos about the Beacon on our YouTube Channel.