As if having to endure the horrors of war waged by men who fancy themselves as gods weren’t bad enough, 13-year-old Meri Mion’s birthday cake was stolen straight from the windowsill where it cooled.The fact that it had been snatched from the very soldiers that liberated her town of San Pietro, Italy did slightly soften the blow.
Still 77 years, the U.S. Army Garrison Italy wanted to make it up to her by replacing the cake with a brand new one for her 90th birthday.At least 19 soldiers were killed or wounded on April 28, 1945, as Mion and her mother hid from German soldiers in the attic of her farmhouse in Northern Italy.
After coming out of hiding the next day, her mom baked her a cake for her 13th birthday and placed it on the windowsill.
“Infantry Division Soldiers battled German defenders. Several U.S. tanks were destroyed and at least 19 U.S. Soldiers were killed or wounded. Other Americans, from the 91st Infantry Division, drove north from the Riviera Berica into the city. Later, they paraded through Corso Palladio, Vicenza’s famous thoroughfare, where Italians offered them bread and wine,” the U.S. Army’s website reports.
Probably having mistaken it for an offering, soldiers grabbed Mion’s birthday cake before she got to it.
“Her happiness turned into disappointment,” Col. Matthew Gomlak, the commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Italy, said according to FOX News.
But in celebration of her 90th birthday and the 77th anniversary of the U.S.’s victory, the 88th Infantry Division gathered nearby at Giardini Salvi, a garden in Vicenza, to celebrate.
“That warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” Gomlak said.
According to The Washington Post, Gomlak and Sgt. Peter Wallis presented Mion with a new cake that read “Buon 90 compleanno.”
“It was a little awkward, but it makes me feel great to give her the cake,” said Wallis, according to Food and Wine.
The large white cake was topped with a chocolate shell filled with fruit and mini meringue cookies.
After presenting Mion with the cake, they sang “Happy Birthday” to her in both Italian and English causing her to tear up.
“Tomorrow, we will eat that dessert with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget” she said.
Eighty years is a long time to wait for a bite of birthday cake, but it looks like it was worth it.
Hundreds of people, including local residents, soldiers, military police, and veterans, joined the military to celebrate Mion’s birthday.
World War II officially ended on Sept. 2, 1945, which was four months and five days after Mion’s 13th birthday.
How the military found out that Mion missed her cake is unknown but everyone that day at Giardini Salvi was happy they did.