While battling Nazi occupiers in 1945, American soldiers took a 13-year-old Italian girl’s birthday cake.
At a ceremony staged in Vicenza’s Salvi Gardens 77 years later, the Department of Defense found money in the budget to cover a replacement birthday cake for Meri Mion.
Due to their early arrival in those regions of Italy that saw fighting during World War II, Americans are well-liked.
However, in 1945, while combat raged in the Gu village of San Pietro, several undoubtedly starving soldiers stole Meri Mion’s birthday cake that her mother had cooked for her particular day.
Meri’s cake was placed on the windowsill to cool in an image that could have come straight out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon.
It was snatched by what the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) called ‘resourceful’ Americans as it had just been removed from the warm oven.
Sgt. Peter Wallis, who had the distinction of presenting the retroactive 13th-birthday treat in a ceremony last week, said, ‘It was a little weird, but it makes me feel fantastic to give her the cake.
Mion replied, ‘We shall enjoy that dessert with my entire family tomorrow as we commemorate this lovely day that I will never forget.’
As bitter as the fighting was, National Archives officials uncovered images from the fights in and around Vicenza for the occasion.
The images show a rapidly developing friendship between the American soldiers and the locals, who would provide food and wine during lulls in the fighting.