Mount Diablo Marks Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Hundreds will brave the cold Wednesday night to mark the bombing

Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011  |  Updated 12:40 PM PDT
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Mount Diablo  Marks Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Credit Flickr user rdesai

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One night a year, a beacon atop Mount Diablo is lit at sunset and  shines all night in memory of Pearl Harbor Day.

Survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor plan to meet this  afternoon on top of Mount Diablo to remember what happened on this day in  1941 and to light the beacon on the summit.

Since 1964, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, whose numbers  dwindle every year, has lit the summit beacon, known as the "Eye of Diablo."

According to Ron Brown, executive director of the nonprofit Save  Mount Diablo, which co-sponsors the annual event, said the beacon was  originally built in 1928 to encourage commercial aviation by aiding night  flights.

It was turned off in 1941 after the attacks, but, according to the  nonprofit, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz -- who was the commander in chief of  Pacific forces during World War II -- relit the beacon in 1964 and suggested  re-illuminating it annually as a memorial.

Several hundred people are expected to attend the 47th annual  ceremony, which begins at 3:45 p.m. with a program that includes retellings  of the actual experiences of survivors in attendance, Brown said.

"Frequently we see many families with small children, the parents  wanting their children to be able to hear the stories of the veterans and  what they went through at Pearl Harbor," he said.

The beacon-lighting ceremony is one of several events taking place  today around the Bay Area to commemorate the sacrifice of American soldiers.

Aboard the USS Hornet aircraft carrier museum, Navy veteran Ed  Silveira, an eyewitness to the attack, was scheduled to speak at a special 1  p.m. ceremony.

Silveira, who is now almost 90, was 19 years old when he was  aboard the USS San Francisco on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, as the warship  waited to dry dock at Pearl Harbor.

The Hornet's resident chaplain John Berger will offer a special  service to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost. A wreath-tossing  ceremony will follow, according to a publicist for the museum.

The museum is permanently berthed at Pier 3, 707 W. Hornet Ave. in  Alameda.

Earlier today also in Alameda, the U.S. Coast Guard hosted seven  Pearl Harbor survivors during a 9 a.m. ceremony at Coast Guard Island.

The events involved a ceremonial wreath hanging at 9:55 a.m.,  marking the start of the surprise military strike conducted by the Japanese  navy against the U.S. naval base.
 

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