Created: 07/01/2014 6:44 PM KAALtv.com
By: Hannah Tran
It started with a letter from the secretary of the Navy in 1945. It was one of the few items recovered from Ronald Meaney that belonged to his father.
"My dear Mr. Meaney," it read.
It's addressing Ronald Meaney's father, Lewis.
"It's my privilege to express that he has served in the greatest Navy in the world," said Meaney as he read the letter aloud.
Lewis Meaney joined the Navy and fought in WWII in the Philippines. He hardly spoke about it then. He hardly spoke about it before passing in 1997.
"I never talked about it and he never said anything about it," said Ronald.
But when Ronald was a teen, he did ask his father once.
"I asked, 'dad, what was it like over in the Philippines aboard the ship?,' and he looked at me and said it was hell," said Ronald.
But that's all he said, and eventually curiosity carried Meaney to Senator Al Franken. The Meaney family went to both Sen. Franken and the Military Personnel Records Department in Washington D.C. to help them dig up information.
Whatever happened on Lewis Meaney's U.S.S. Mercy in the Philippines, it earned him six service medals. Five of them came 70 years later. The family and federal officials found enough records of his experience overseas that deemed him worthy of each award.
Lewis Meaney received a WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon. He also received two medals from the Philippine Government.
It all ended with a letter, a discovered shred of evidence that sparked enough curiosity to lead Lewis Meaney's family to bring home his honor completely.