As if the horrors of war perpetrated by men who think of themselves as gods weren’t enough, Meri Mion’s birthday cake was stolen right from the windowsill where it was baking.
The fact that it was taken from the same soldiers who freed her hometown of San Pietro, Italy, eased the impact significantly.
For her 90th birthday, the United States Army Garrison Italy decided to make apologies by replacing the cake with a brand new one.
On April 28, 1945, as Mion and her mother hid from German forces in the attic of her farmhouse in Northern Italy, at least 19 soldiers died or injured.
Her mother cooked her a cake for her 13th birthday and placed it on the window once she returned from hiding the next day.
Soldiers from the Infantry Division battled German defenses. At least 19 US soldiers died or injured, while many US tanks were disabled. Other Americans from the 91st Infantry Division entered the city by driving north from the Riviera Berica.
Later, they paraded down Vicenza’s historic boulevard, Corso Palladio, where Italians gave them bread and wine,’ according to the US Army’s website.
Soldiers stole Mion’s birthday cake before she could eat it, most likely mistaking it for an offering.
According to FOX News, the commander of the US Army Garrison Italy, Col. Matthew Gomlak, said, ‘Her happiness changed into disappointment.’
The 88th Infantry Division, however, congregated nearby at Giardini Salvi, a Vicenza park, to celebrate her 90th birthday and the 77th anniversary of the US victory.
‘The people of Vicenza have continued to embrace us warmly,’ Gomlak remarked.
Gomlak and Sgt. Peter Wallis, according to The Washington Post, presented Mion with a fresh cake that read ‘Buon 90 compleanno.’
According to Food & Wine, Wallis stated, ‘It was a little embarrassing, but it makes me feel amazing to give her the cake.’ A chocolate shell packed with fruit and small meringue cookies was placed on top of the huge white cake.
They sung “Happy Birthday’ to Mion in both Italian and English after presenting her with the cake, bringing her to cry. ‘We’ll have that dessert tomorrow with my entire family, recalling this amazing day that I’ll never forget,’ she said.
Eighty years is a long time to wait for a slice of birthday cake, but it appears to have been well worth the wait.
Hundreds of people joined the military to celebrate Mion’s birthday, including local citizens, officers, military police, and veterans. On September 2, 1945, four months and five days after Mion’s 13th birthday, World War II came to a conclusion.
It’s unclear how the military discovered Mion had missed her cake, but everyone at Giardini Salvi was relieved when they did.
In the video below, learn more about this happy birthday!
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