eLivermore.com - By Bill Nale


Mt. Diablo Beacon
and Pearl Harbor Ceremony 2011
Page 5 - Before the 2011 Ceremony

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Page 1 - Before the 2010 Ceremony
Page 2 - The 2010 Ceremony
Page 3 - Lighting the Beacon - 2010
Page 4 - Remembering Pearl Harbor - by Captain Charles Burbage
Page 5 - Before the 2011 Ceremony
Page 6 - 2011 Ceremony
Page 7 - Lighting the Beacon 2011
Page 8 - 2012 Ceremony Opening Comments & Speaker
Page 9 - Ceremony - Veterans Stories
Page 10 - Lighting the Beacon
Page 11 - The Beacon
Page 12 - 2013 Ceremony
Page 13 - The Survivors and Featured Speaker
Page 14 - Lighting the Beacon

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Once a year, on December 7th, the Mt. Diablo beacon is lit and shines over a wide area from around sunset until around sunrise the next day.

According to the organization “Save Mount Diablo”:

“Standard Oil of California constructed a 75 ft aviation beacon jointly with the U.S. Dept of Commerce to encourage and as a guide for commercial aviation (visible for 100 miles, first lit by Charles Lindberg). The beacon was later transferred to the Summit Building and is now lit only on December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day.”

The Summit building was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1939 and 1942.

The beacon was used until December 7, 1941.  With the attack on Pearl Harbor, the beacon was turned off so as to not guide Japanese planes for night attacks.  After the war it was no longer needed, and fell into disrepair.  The beacon was repaired in 1964 by Pearl Harbor survivors.  That year also began the Memorial Ceremony and lighting of the beacon each December 7th.  It was started by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

The Mt. Diablo chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association holds a memorial ceremony in the summit building each year.  The service consists of a guest speaker, and each of the survivors speaks of his experience.  This year the speaker was Earl J. "Chuck" Kohler who was stationed on Ford Island at the time of the attach.  There were 7 survivors in attendance.

The public may attend this ceremony, although the space inside the summit museum is limited, mainly to the survivors, their families, and a few others.  Speakers are set up outside for others to hear.  The ceremony began at 3:55pm this year (slightly later than normal).  A shuttle bus was provided to bring people back and forth from the lower parking lot, but many people hiked.  It is about a fifth of a mile, but a 140 foot elevation change.  There is very limited parking at the summit itself.

The 2011 Ceremony consisted of:

The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is ending its charter at the end of 2011, which dissolves all chapters.  The ceremony at Mt. Diablo will continue, however.

It was a hazy day.  This shot is looking toward Livermore

Hank Fries (pronounced "Freeze") discussing his experiences before the ceremony.

The Beacon at the ready.

Lloyd Busbee signs a poster

Pearl Harbor Survivors Chuck Kohler, Lloyd Busbee, Hank Fries, with BJ Smith in the 2nd row.

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All photos by Bill Nale of eLivermore.com