Bush to sign law for memorial
President Bush will sign a law today to build a World War II memorial seen as a long overdue tribute by supporters and as a scar on one of the Districts great open spaces by detractors.
Marking Memorial Day, Mr. Bush will put his stamp of approval on legislation to erect a memorial of granite pillars, bronze wreaths and gold stars surrounding a pool on the National Mall.
Critics say the memorial will ruin one of Washingtons great vistas because it will sit squarely between between the needle-shaped Washington Monument and the neoclassical Lincoln Memorial located along the Malls central spine.
Moakley remains in grave condition
Rep. Joe Moakley, 74, was in grave condition yesterday, comforted by family and friends at the hospital where he has spent nearly a week.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who has incurable leukemia, has been at Bethesda Naval Hospital since May 21, when he was admitted for a routine blood transfusion.
Mr. Moakley announced Feb. 12 that he would not run for a 16th term. He has had several health problems over the years, including a liver transplant, removal of most of his kidneys and a right hip replacement.
Smoking teen-ager caused fatal blast
HEFLIN, La. — A teen-ager smoking atop a crude oil tank set off an explosion and fire that killed him and critically burned another teen early Saturday.
The flame from a lighter or embers from a cigarette apparently ignited fumes from vent tubes on the top of the 20-foot-high tank, causing the explosion and fire that killed Matthew Wall, 17.
The top of the tank blew off and spilled hot oil, burning 18-year-old Marcus Jerome McKinney, who was hospitalized in critical condition. Kimberly Langwasser, 17, suffered minor injuries.
Huge wildfire in Florida spreads
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Dense, swampy terrain and shifting winds created problems for firefighters battling around the clock against a huge wildfire in northern Florida yesterday.
The Mallory Swamp fire had grown to cover nearly 61,000 acres in Dixie and Lafayette counties. So far there has been no damage to homes or structures in the area, but timber loss is estimated at $10 million.
Buffalo soldier given headstone
PHOENIX — For 76 years the remains of Cpl. Isaiah Mays, like those of 2,400 others buried in the Arizona State Hospital cemetery, lay under a numbered stone slab covering a weed-choked grave.
With Memorial Day approaching, Mr. Mays was finally honored last week with a headstone commemorating him as a winner of the Medal of Honor.
Mr. Mays was born a slave in Virginia in 1858. As a young man, he joined the all-black 10th Cavalry, the “buffalo soldiers,” and was stationed in Tucson, Ariz. In 1889, bandits attacked a payroll wagon he was guarding. Most of the other soldiers fled. But Mr. Mays stayed and fought. Shot in both legs, he dragged himself two miles to a farm to sound an alarm.
For his heroism, he received the Medal of Honor in 1890. But, denied a pension by the government in 1922, Mr. Mays died destitute at the Arizona State Hospital in 1925.
‘Pearl Harbor’ misses box office records
LOS ANGELES — “Pearl Harbor,” anointed as a monster hit by the Hollywood hype machine before it even opened, debuted at No. 1 at the box office, but its three-hour running time prevented it from smashing key records, according to studio data issued yesterday.
The Second World War epic grossed about $39.7 million during its first two days of release, Friday and Saturday. Because of its 183-minute running time, theater screenings were generally limited to three per day, instead of four or five.