Military Times NOW hosts the HomeOfHeroes  Awards & Citations Database

 

Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado

News From The Past


October 4, 2002

 

 

Veterans Center Renamed
in Honor of Gino Merli

On Sept. 4, 1944, a young soldier from Peckville did what few others could have done. More than 58 years later, Pennsylvania officials have made sure no one will forget.

By Jonathan Foerster

As an infantry soldier, Gino Merli single-handedly fought off a wave of German soldiers in Belgium to help secure the Allied Forces position. His heroics earned him the highest honor, the Medal of Honor, as well as two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and the Battle of the Bulge Medal.

On Thursday, hundreds of friends, family members and veterans gathered to rededicate the Northeastern Veterans Center in honor of Mr. Merli, who died June 11 at age 78. The hour-long ceremony featured state Sen. Robert Mellow, state Rep. Edward Staback, a video speech from Tom Brokaw, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs and former soldier turned TV news anchor Keith Martin.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the ceremony came when a video of the late Mr. Merli led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The video came from the original dedication of the building in 1993.

Mr. Brokaw's taped remarks followed. He called Mr. Merli the inspiration for "The Greatest Generation," his book on Americans of the World War II era.

"Gino was emblematic of the Greatest Generation," Mr. Brokaw said. "Gino Merli will always be my hero in life and also in death."

Other speakers expressed similar sentiments. During his keynote address, retired Brig. Gen. Keith Martin, now a news anchor for WBRE-TV/28, recalled his first encounter with Mr. Merli 50 years ago.

Mr. Martin's mother dressed him in his Sunday best and took him to stand in line to see a man. He had no idea who he was waiting to see because he was only 6 years old. But once he got closer, he realized the man was someone important.

"My mom, as moms tend to do, slicked my hair back, straightened my little tie and said, 'Stand up straight and behave when you shake Mr. Merli's hand,'" he said.

Mr. Merli's son, Dr. Gino Merli Jr., said his father was too humble to have ever allowed a building to be dedicated in his name while he was still alive. Mr. Merli Jr. said his father was more concerned with what was inside the building than whose name was on the outside.

He said that as a younger man, he asked his father why he was so dedicated to the Veterans Administration.

"He said, 'Son, when I was on the field of battle and saw all the suffering of veterans, I just thought when I got home I would spend my life serving them,'" Mr. Merli Jr. said.

And now the building that does serve them bears his name.

 

2002, by Scranton Times Tribune
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Return To The

Archives Index

 

Home Page

Hall Of Heroes

MOH Community 

NEWS

Kidz Page

FEATURE STORIES
  Profiles In Courage | Wings of ValorThe Brotherhood of Soldiers At War | Go For Broke
 Pearl Harbor  | A Splendid Little War | Shinmiyangyo-Korea 1871 | Quick Links to MOH Stories

RECIPIENT WEB SITES
Barney Barnum  |  Jack Lucas  |  Mitch Paige  |  Wesley Fox  |  Sammy Davis
Roger Donlon
Peter Lemon  |  Drew Dix  |  Mike Novosel

Medal Of Honor Calendar  |  Books By MOH RecipientsSteve Ryan MOH Posters

What Does 
A Hero Look Like?

Click on Superman To Find out


FOOTNOTES
In
HISTORY

NEW
Looking for a Hero or trying to verify awards? We have posted the names of more than 120,000 recipients of the highest awards in a BRAND NEW FREE SECTION
DECORATIONS 1862 - Present
.

Military Medals & Awards 

Information and Images of ALL Military Medals
The Purple Heart 
How to Request Records/Medals Earned
  How to Obtain Military Records of a Family Member 

Honor Roll of America's Military Heroes


Brevet Medal


DSC 


Navy Cross 


Air Force Cross 

Distinguished Service Medals

Defense - Army - Navy - Air Force - Coast Guard - Merchant Marine



Silver Star

U.S. History and Information
The History Room | U.S. Flag HistoryHistory of the Flag |
How to Display the Flag
| The National Anthem | The Pledge of Allegiance The American Creed | The Seal of our Nation | Our National Symbol
Arthur MacArthur's Flag | William Carney's Flag | FDR's Flag of Liberation]

FLAG DAY           STATE FLAGS
American Presidents
U.S. Presidents | Inaugural Addresses

God & Country
ROOM

MY HERO Web Page Creator 
(Create a Tribute to the Hero in Your Own Life)

SEARCH
bn_search.jpg (3967 bytes)
OUR SITE

EDUCATIONAL

GAME ARCADE

OR
Quick Quiz

***
Electronic Post Cards
Talking Points 

Remembering 911
The Binch
Citizens Speak Out

BEYOND THE MEDAL

This 5 Disc DVD Education Program has been distributed to over 17,500 Public & Private High Schools and is now available to the public!


 

HomeOfHeroes.com now has more than 25,000 pages of US History for you to view.