Pearl Harbor Survivors Remembered at Mount Diablo Beacon Lighting Ceremony
- December 8, 2013
By David Mills
It didn't matter that the event wasn't held at the summit this year.
More than 200 people came out Saturday afternoon to honor the survivors of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The ceremony was part of the 50th annual lighting of the beacon at the top of Mount Diablo to commemorate that fateful day.
Due to the cold weather, the event was moved to the library at the Cal State East Bay Concord campus.
People packed the room and an overflow crowd stood outside in the cold to hear the remarks.
Local elected officials were in attendance. So were the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, the group that started the annual beacon lighting ceremony in honor of the survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.
A number of members from Save Mount Diablo were there, too. The non-profit group led the effort this past year to refurbish the aging beacon.
Representatives from the groups spoke about the courage of the Pearl Harbor survivors and how the beacon lighting remembers them every year.
But it was the six Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance who stole the show.
Earl "Chuck" Kohler said when the beacon shines every Dec. 7 it means Pearl Harbor's survivors and victims are not forgotten.
"The beacon's beam signals to everyone that you do remember," said Kohler.
John Tait said the beacon is something special to him and other survivors.
"It's an honor to have the beacon up there," said Tait.
Carl Marble said the beacon should also serve as a reminder.
"That light is important to me and my shipmates," said Marble. "I do not want that crazy war returning. I don't want another one of those."
Henry Fries said he is thankful for the efforts of the community to hold the annual event.
"To me, the beacon represents the tremendous commitment by you to remember this day," said Fries.
Survivors Benjamin "B.J." Smith and John Egan also spoke, thanking the organizations and the community for the beacon and the annual ceremony.
After the indoor event, everyone moved to the lawn at 4:45 p.m.
There, as the sun set, they watched the beacon shine once again at the top of Mount Diablo, this time from afar.