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Symbol of hope: Mt. Diablo beacon shining until coronavirus pandemic ends

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — Atop one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s highest mountains, a bright light is shining weekly until the coronavirus pandemic ends.

A beloved beacon on Mount Diablo is being lit up by volunteers at sunset every Sunday. Perched 3,849 feet above sea level, the beacon is so high and bright that it can be seen from all over the Bay Area. The illuminating sight ends every Monday at sunrise.

Organizers who came up with the beacon idea are hoping that the light serves as a symbol of healing, strength, and hope for healthcare workers and anyone who is suffering during the COVID-19 outbreak. The beacon is also honoring those who have died from the virus.

Ted Clement, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo, said, “Lighting the Beacon every Sunday is a way to honor our heroes in this global pandemic struggle, to pay our respects to the dead and those suffering, to lift our eyes to higher ground and the light and be reminded of the healing power of nature and our Mount Diablo, and to bring our communities together during this difficult time.”

Mount Diablo Beacon
(Photo by Clayton Worsdell)

The “Eye of Diablo” was illuminated for the first time on Easter Sunday after some quick coordination between Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5.

Longtime volunteer John Gallagher is in charge of climbing two sets of ladders and illuminate the beacon’s huge rotating lens. Gallagher said the beacon has 10-million candlepower.

Diablo Range Superintendent of California State Parks Eduardo Guaracha said, “As we look up in the sky, let this beacon remind us we are not alone. Our thoughts and support are with the heroes, healthcare and emergency workers, and all those affected by this worldwide pandemic. Let the light give us hope for a better future.”

Photo by Scott Hein

The only other time that the beacon is usually lit occurs during the annual “Eye of Diablo” ceremony December 7, which memorializes Pearl Harbor Day and honors Pearl Harbor survivors. Pearl Harbor survivors agreed to let the light shine to help COVID-19 victims endure moments of darkness.

The beacon is located in Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County. Under the county’s shelter-in-place orders and social distancing rules, the park’s trails are open to locals for hiking and cycling, but the parking lots are closed. Anyone who wants to see the beacon up-close has to tackle a tough 3,000-foot climb.

(Photo by David Ogden)
(Photo by Stephen Joseph)

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