VICENZA, Italy - More than 75 years after American soldiers swooped in and stole a birthday cake from a window sill in Italy, the birthday girl got a new cake.
Soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Italy "returned" the birthday cake to Meri Mion Thursday on the anniversary of a major World War II battle and a day before her 90th birthday. She was 13 yeas old in 1945 when her mother baked her a cake and set it on the sill to cool. U.S. soldiers, meanwhile, had just finished one of their final battles and were parading through Mion’s hometown, the village of San Pietro in Gù, while locals plied them with bread and wine.
Mion’s mother baked the cake the morning after her family spent the night hiding in an attic as German forces retreated. The hungry soldiers helped themselves, but much to Mion’s surprise, the Army made amends this week. They held a brief ceremony when they presented her with the cake. Hundreds of soldiers — both Italian and American — were there to honor the occasion.
A grateful Mion marveled "Mama mia" and "Grazie" as the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" in both English and Italian.
"Tomorrow, I will eat that dessert with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget," Mion said.
Sgt. Peter Wallis (right), presents a cake to Meri Mion, (center) with Col. Matthew Gomlak, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy. Photo by Laura Kreider