MARCH 8, 1944
MIAMI, Tuesday—At eleven o'clock Sunday morning we left Palm Beach for Miami. We drove to the Coral Gables Hospital, which is an Air Force hospital, and we had lunch with the men at their mess. The familiar pressed out tin trays were before us. I could almost see the line at one of the mess halls in the Southwest Pacific, for I have not often eaten off similar trays since then. The food was good and the men seemed to be enjoying it.
This hospital, like the hospital in Palm Beach, is very well adapted to the needs of the type of cases that are coming here. I think converted hotels have one great advantage for hospital use. The rooms only hold two, three or at most four beds, which means that the men get more privacy and quiet.
There are some very remarkable cases which make you marvel at the skill of the surgeons and the extraordinary new scientific discoveries which have made such cures possible.
While at Palm Beach, We stopped at the Victory Canteen which is run by Mrs. Rea. It is kept open all year, even when the places which are open only during the resort season are closed. It was crowded with men writing letters, reading and eating. There were some British boys and one from Santo Domingo. Later in the day, when we visited the recreation pier in Miami, which I had seen two years ago, we found many different nationalities represented. The people seemed to have a happy time together. I could not believe that such changes had been wrought in a short time as were evident on this recreation pier. The library and the game room and the upstairs dance hall were hard even to imagine when I was there before. Now they are accomplished facts, nicely furnished and filled with men.
We visited another hospital in the afternoon which is largely used as a convalescent hospital. Later, we saw a very good setup where convalescent patients who are just about to return to active duty, were being given physical reconditioning.
In the middle of the afternoon we stopped at the USO which is run for colored servicemen. Not many of them come to this city and the community here is not very large, but they have taken a tremendous amount of interest and have a very fine place for men from ships or from shore stations who come in. I was glad to have an opportunity to see it.
In all of the hospitals I found Red Cross workers helping with the craft work which the patients enjoy. They also do the contacting of families without having the complications which people overseas suffer from in getting their cables through.
At six o'clock we reached my son Franklin's house, and met some of his friends, including Captain and Mrs. McDaniels. Captain McDaniels is the head of the DETS (Destroyer Escort Training School). We had made a hurried trip to the school late in the afternoon, looking into the mess hall and driving around the piers where the classrooms and practice ships are. Captain McDaniels seems to have a gift for training men, and I have never seen more enthusiastic students than those with whom I talked Sunday afternoon.