SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The annual Easter sunrise service at the historic Mount Davidson Landmark Park and Cross in San Francisco was canceled this year due to the novel coronavirus shelter-in-place order, the first cancellation since the tradition was established in 1923.
But part of the tradition, the lighting of the cross on the night before Easter, was continued Saturday into Sunday with an added twist.
The cross was illuminated in blue light ” to show support for healthcare professionals and essential front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Council of Armenian Americans of Northern California said in a news release.
The concrete cross, which stands 103 feet tall atop the highest point in San Francisco, is one of several that have stood at the site, with others destroyed by arsonists.
The current cross was dedicated in 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt “pressed a golden telegraph key in Washington, D.C. to light up the cross in front of an audience of 50,000,” according to a history compiled by the Armenian council.
The council has been the legal owner of the cross and the site where it stands in the park since 1997, following prolonged debate about a religious symbol on city-owned property.
“It is one of the oldest landmarks in San Francisco and stands as a memorial to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915,” the council said in its announcement.
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