Gino Merli:  The Healing Hero

This PBS docudrama about the WWII experiences of Medal of Honor recipient Gino J. Merli uses actual war footage as a backdrop to Merli’s recollections delivered by an actor as a one-man play. On the night of Sept. 4, 1944, Pfc. Gino Merli was manning a machine gun during the Battle of the Bulge when the Nazis attacked in force. The outnumbered U.S. troops began their retreat, but Merli held his position, providing cover fire for his comrades. He sustained bayonet wounds by playing possum again and again, but he continued to rise up and fire at the Germans once they left him for dead. Merli’s heroism allowed American forces to regroup for a counteroffensive that resulted in the enemy’s surrender. When he was found the next day, covered in blood and surrounded by scores of enemy dead, Merli’s only request was to visit a church to pray for the fallen, including the men he had just killed. After returning to civilian life, Merli worked for more than three decades at a Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

To view the trailer, click here.

To view the movie free of charge, click here.

To view an interview with Gino Merli, click here.

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Felicia Reilly

With nearly three decades of experience in public and special libraries, archives and museums, Felicia Reilly earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She maintained the Passionist Research Center’s website during the beginning of the public’s access to the World Wide Web, later creating and maintaining online web-based finding aids to archival collections at a medical society museum and library. Her family has served in the military, firefighting and police services. She worked in the music business and has been researching Chicago’s music history for many years. She contributed articles and biographies to the Chicago Music Hall of Fame, has written for Fra Noi and was the researcher and author of the biographies and background material showcased in the museum’s Medal of Honor exhibit. She was also a contributor to a music encyclopedia and co-editor of a medical bibliography. She currently manages the Resources page on the website.

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