May 06, 2001 11:00 pm

Quit messing around, build WWII memorial

Every day more World War II veterans die. And every day some federal commission or other further delays the building of a World War II memorial.

The vets who fought in the islands of the South Pacific, who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who battled in the mountains of Italy deserve better. The vets who made the world safe from the paranoid, racist dictator Hitler should get a memorial while they are still living. These men and women fought for our freedom, and some paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Now the battle is with red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. The issue has been under consideration by any number of federal commissions, perhaps another name for black holes, since 1995. A design was approved 17 months ago, but debate continues over what the monument should be and where it should be built.

Not all people are going to love the design. Not all people are going to agree to the memorials location on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Two days of public hearings are scheduled for June 13-14, the second of which coincidentally is Flag Day. Supporters of getting the monument built right away should rally with their flags and make sure the bureaucrats get the project built.

Every day of delay means another honorable serviceperson from World War II dies. In the six years of consideration, backers have come up with a solid plan. Its time to get out the hammer and nails. Lets build the monument as a long overdue tribute to our national heroes.

Clown treks for kids

First, consider the numbers: 1,700 miles. 123 days. 180-pound barrel. 900,000 revolutions. 14.6 miles per day. Seven pairs of shoes. 15 pounds lighter. 17 million steps.

These are the tales of the tape on rodeo clown Marvin Nashs trek from Ocala, Fla., to Cody, Wyo. The citizens of Cody, famous for Cody Nite Rodeo from Memorial Day to Labor Day, greeted Nash with a parade.

But the important thing was not Nashs physical accomplishment, which is somewhat silly, but the message he was sending kids about decision-making and responsibility. Nashs program, Sort It Out, teaches kids about making the right choices. He brings laughter to his teaching to make the medicine go down easier.

The rest of us dont need to wear out seven pairs of shoes to carry Nashs message to our kids. But we can be good role models and show kids the importance of community service, lifelong education and so on, giving them the knowledge they need to make their own right choices. Hey, its not as hard as battling rodeo bulls.