Survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor plan to meet this afternoon on top of Mount Diablo to remember what happened on Dec. 7 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."
The beacon was originally built in 1928 to encourage commercial aviation by aiding night flights, said Ron Brown, executive director of the nonprofit Save Mount Diablo, which co-sponsors the annual event.
The beacon was turned off in 1941 after the attacks and has since sustained extensive damage, Brown said. Weather conditions and being turned on only once a year have left the beacon without necessary ongoing maintenance; its bearings have deteriorated, the wiring is less than reliable, and mechanisms need to be refurbished or replaced.
Still, Brown expects the beacon to light for the 48th annual ceremony, which begins at 3:45 p.m. Four to five Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to attend the event and share their memories. The hour-long event will also feature a guest speaker.
"At the conclusion of the ceremony, everybody goes to outside from the summit building and one of the survivors will flip the switch to turn the beacon on," Brown said. "It will shine until the next morning as a beacon of remembrance for those who served their country."