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A guardian of freedom

The theme for this year's Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival in Baltimore was "freedom."

What better way to celebrate freedom than to draw Capt. Harvey West. On December 10, he will turn 100 years old.

Some eight decades ago, the young officer from the smoky railroad town of Pitcairn, outside Pittsburgh, found himself halfway around the world, commanding Company B of the 863rd Aviation Engineer Battalion.

Across the South Pacific – from New Guinea to the Philippines – Captain West led his men in the construction of airfields, docks, bridges and entrenchments, often under enemy fire. It was the combined efforts of millions of men and women just like him who ended a war, who helped to save a world. In 1945, he would return to western Pennsylvania where he and his young bride, Dorothy, would raise two daughters, four grand-daughters and eight great-grandchildren.

One of those great-grandchildren – my daughter, Jenna – helped to draw “Pop” this weekend. This is our tribute to our guardian of freedom.

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