I notice that all my self-closing tags " /> are setting off validation warnings in my html 4.01 doc.

In regard to the meta statement, am I reading correctly that I should be avoiding it all together in a 4.01 document?

# Warning Line 9, Column 79: NET-enabling start-tag requires SHORTTAG YES

/wui_stylesheet.css" type="text/css" />

The sequence <FOO /> can be interpreted in at least two different ways, depending on the DOCTYPE of the document. For HTML 4.01 Strict, the '/' terminates the tag <FOO (with an implied '>'). However, since many browsers don't interpret it this way, even in the presence of an HTML 4.01 Strict DOCTYPE, it is best to avoid it completely in pure HTML documents and reserve its use solely for those written in XHTML.
In regard to other empty elements, like many of may images, should I be leaving off the end greater-than sign after the slash throughout the document (ie., within the body)?
Code HTML4Strict:
<img src="images/interface_140px.jpg" width="140px" height="173px" /