EDITOR'S DESK: War long ago, highway far ahead

       The man was being filmed for posterity, but the encounter was like a film in itself. This was how it felt watching the Coronado High students interview World War II veteran Dale Case this week.
       Here were the kids, with a video camera and a list of questions, and here was the man, doing his best to answer them, but behind it all was the sense that no questions and no answers would ever quite bear out the raw reality of a soldier who had battled his way from D-Day to V-E Day (when Germany surrendered).
       Another irony, which Case himself found interesting, was that his interviewers were about the same age he was (16) when he volunteered for the service and even lied about his age to get in. Across America at that time, as he explained, there were many like him. Maybe they weren't that old, maybe not all that big, maybe not mighty warriors, but quietly ready to learn whatever it took to fight and win a war against a terrible and powerful foe.
       And his interviewers listened politely to his stories - about deaths and injuries and shells and land mines and the concentration camp with lampshades made from prisoners' tattoos and his belief that he survived because "the good Lord was with me, taking me down the right gullies at the right times" - and the students conscientiously went through their list of questions and encouraged him to tell more. It could be that World War II is too distant a time for kids these days to fully relate to. But I also think it's safe to say that if, heaven forbid, a similar threat surfaced - for instance, if jihad terrorism grew to massive proportions - the high- schoolers from our time would respond with the same fortitude as those from Dale Case's.
       Can't let the latest development in the Highway 24 saga slip by. We have questioned before how important this project is to the region. It would seem that the new draft schedule - showing a completion date up to 27 years away (see story on Page 1) - answers that question.

- K.J.