USS Arizona on exhibit

Concord Campus Commemorates 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

  • BY Erin Merdinger
  • December 9, 2021

“Somewhere in that morning, I lost that 17-year-old sailor, and I never ever again found him. I don’t know what happened to him,” said Earl “Chuck” Kohler, a 97-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who shared a detailed account of his experience during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Kohler is one of the remaining few living Pearl Harbor survivors and was a featured speaker at the 58th annual “Eye of Diablo” Beacon Lighting Ceremony for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Dec. 7 held on Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus.

Veterans and their families, along with other community members, gathered outdoors on Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and see the lighting of the Mount Diablo Beacon, also known as “The Eye of Diablo”, to honor those who lost their lives in the attack.

The event is co-sponsored by Save Mount Diablo; California State Parks; California State University, East Bay Concord Campus; and the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5.

Attendees also had the opportunity to view the new Pacific War Exhibit on display in the Concord Campus main lobby, including a fragment of the USS Arizona, one of seven U.S. battleships sunk during the attack on Oahu on December 7, 1941.

During Kohler’s emotional speech, he emphasized the importance of remembering his sunken shipmates and fallen comrades that were lost that day.

“We need to always remember them, to be thankful for them, and to do what we can to help other people to remember and honor them.”