“December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by Naval and Air Forces of the Empire of Japan.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt speech to Congress for Declaration of War
As a fourth generation Palm Beach County family, I am proud my hometown continues to serve America in various ways. Like many of us, my Grandfathers served in WWII. Bill Adeimy Sr. flew perilous Naval reconnaissance missions in the Okinawa Campaign. Ira Moore was a gunner on the USS Gainard destroyer, surviving ongoing kamikaze attacks and finally, the largest Naval battle in history, Leyte Gulf. At home Florida’s coastal residents were vital to the success of World War II. Surrounded by water on three sides, wartime Governor Spessard Holland a Florida native, realized our state was uniquely vulnerable to ocean and air attacks. Holland worked to establish the Florida Defense Force and Civilian Air Patrol. The enemy did come – German submarines attacked dozens of supply ships and oil tankers off our coast and Axis aircraft taunted flying above. At night homes and car headlights were darkened to avoid enemy detection. The U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve was created in Florida with over 10,000 women joining to serve after men departed for combat. They were called SPARS after the Coast Guard’s motto: Semper Paratus, Always Ready.
Florida being a border state was advantageous for the United States Air Force to prepare for Normandy at Morrison Air Field. It is now known as Palm Beach International, where I grew up a block away. The creation of Lantana airport was coordinated by multi-war veteran and Commissioner John Prince. For generations many of us natives now enjoy the fishing, boating and beauty of the grand John Prince Park. In 1942 the Boca Raton Army Air Field was headquarters for new technology RADAR – even Tony Martin, famed Tuskegee Airmen and crew of the Enola Gay trained at BRAAF. The land is now Florida Atlantic University where I attended for business. Many known and unknown Palm Beach County patriots were responsible for saving Florida and America. One of Henry Flagler’s amazing masterpieces, The Breakers Hotel on the ocean, was provided to the U.S. Army as a hospital. Prominent businessman Marshall Rinker, a volunteer Civilian Air Patrol, reported an enemy U-boat stranded off Cape Canaveral. While Rinker circled above, the German submarine escaped resulting in CAP planes ordered to then be armed.
The war ended in 1945 and many young families settled in Palm Beach County to begin anew. Soon Mr. Rinker and Mr. Adeimy met and collaborated to construct many areas of Palm Beach County, “You pour it, I’ll build it” Bill Adeimy would say. The time and generosity of the two men are in the memories of many. The decades of coaching baseball by Bill Adeimy Sr. were honored by the Palm Beach Hall of Fame and Palm Beach State College field. Mr. Rinker established foundations to support education, including PB Atlantic University and University of Florida, one of my twin son’s alma mater.
The decades fade and such names are honored on memorials, street names and parks of my hometown and others across America. Let us NOT give up the Fight and Never Forget.
“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone.” – John McCain
Special thanks to HSPBC and Images of America, Palm Beach County during World War II. Gillis, Marconi, Murray 2015.
To contribute by mail, please send a personal check made payable to “Deborah Adeimy for Congress” to:
Deborah Adeimy for Congress
PO Box 15467
West Palm Beach, FL 33416