Sunny Isles Beach Veteran celebrates milestone birthday

Henry Norton lives quietly as your neighbor in the city. He celebrated a special birthday recently in the company of family from around the country. You might know him as the UM graduate & attorney who lives next door, or as Jenny’s husband, or as the father of those two nice girls, Rita and Susan. As with many other WWII Veterans who came back from the war and quietly contributed to our society, you would never know the obstacles he has overcome.

Because of his parents’ desire that their children have a Jewish education, he spent part of his youth separated from them while boarding at a Jewish orphanage and studying in a Jewish day school in Breslau, Germany. With the intensification of Nazi persecution, the family decided to try to immigrate to America. The American Consulate would only issue one visa for the family of seven, and his father chose him, as the oldest of the five children, to move to America at the age of 15. He was to pave the way for his siblings and parents to follow him to Rochester, New York.

Henry worked hard in his new country, learned English, and excelled in school and the workplace. He graduated from high school and welcomed his brother, Jack, who made it to America before the war broke out. Another brother, Isidor, would later join them in America after surviving the Holocaust. Unfortunately all other members of his family including grandparents, parents, another brother and a sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins, perished in the Holocaust.

Because of his skills, Henry had a chance to stay stateside and work in a defense plant during WWII. Instead he enlisted and was soon commissioned a Second Lieutenant and Field Artillery Officer. Henry was then selected for intensive military intelligence training at Army Camp Ritchie and he is forever now known as a “Ritchie Boy”. The award-winning documentary film “The Ritchie Boys” depicts their vital secret contributions to the war effort. He interrogated captured enemy combatants at the front lines in Italy. He was a member of the exclusive “G2” that planned and participated in of the invasion of Southern France. He later was responsible for all captured enemy documents for the 7th Army. Under the direct orders of General Eisenhower, he then traveled throughout all European battle zones (French, English, and American), locating and recruiting for America the leading German rocket scientists, including Werner von Braun and his brother.

When he was discharged as a Captain with a Bronze Star Medal, he followed his heart to Miami and married Jenny. He first worked in a post-war defense plant, and then ran a dry cleaning business before enrolling in University of Miami and earning a law degree. Henry has practiced law since 1952 in Miami-Dade County. Happy Belated Birthday Henry and many more!

We have many veterans of the U.S. Military Services in our City. Like Henry they served their country and then quietly moved back into civilian life as productive citizens. Take time to thank a veteran today.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach requests nominations of veterans to be placed on the wall in Heritage Park for Veterans Day 2012.

To download a copy of the nomination form, please visit or copies are available at Sunny Isles Beach Government Center Information Desk or Pelican Community Park Information Desk. Please submit your completed nomination form with proof of residency and military service.

NOTE: Only service men and women who Are, or Were residents of Sunny Isles Beach themselves, can be nominated

DEADLINE: for forms is September 1, 2012.

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