John K. Meneely was a young medical student when he was catapulted into the epic struggle of World War II at age 28. Serving with the 10th Mountain Division, Dr. Meneely endured the hardships and horrors of war in the Aleutian Islands, and later in the rugged Apennine Mountains of northern Italy.
As so many of his generation did, he wrote letters home to his wife, who replied with news of his infant daughter. John Meneely had a special gift for language, and though his letters are prose, they offer poetic descriptions of boredom and dread, terror and injury and loss.
John Meneely’s homecoming
His return home was a bittersweet one, a brave struggle to become the husband and father and doctor he had aspired to be before the war. His wife and three daughters offered boundless compassion and understanding for him as he sought to overcome the memories of carnage, a battle he ultimately lost.