US army gives birthday cake to Italian woman

US Army ‘returns’ birthday cake 77 years after stealing it from Italian girl

By Region News North-east Italy

In 1945, soldiers from the US army stole a cake cooling on the windowsill in San Pietro near Vicenza. 77 years later, the army replaced the cake on the girl’s 90th birthday.

Meri Mion was about to turn 13 when soldiers took her birthday cake as it cooled on windowsill in San Pietro.

On the eve of her 13th birthday, US troops arrived in the village of San Pietro, where Meri Mion and her family lived. Her family retired to the attic as the Americans fought the Germans. The following day, after the Germans had retreated, the family emerged to find the cake had gone. It was assumed hungry American soldiers stole it from the windowsill.

Repentant Americans ‘return’ cake

Today, repentant soldiers from the US army presented Mion with a birthday cake to make up for the one their predecessors stole from her.

An emotional Mion, who turns 90 on Friday, was presented with a replacement cake by soldiers from the US Army garrison in Italy during a ceremony at Giardini Salvi in Vicenza on Thursday.

She said she had not been expecting the cake. She did, however, clearly remember the moment the one baked for her 13th birthday “disappeared”.

“I was surprised,” she told Il Giornale di Vicenza. “But then I realised the American soldiers had taken it and it made me happy. It was a good end given everything they had done.

“I will eat the cake with my entire family, remembering a wonderful day that I will never forget.”

Sgt Peter Wallis and Col Matthew Gomlak, the garrison’s commander presented the strawberry cream cake during a ceremony attended by Italian and American soldiers, local officials and residents.

Gomlak recalled the fighting between the US military and German forces in the Vicenza area in 1945. At that time, 19 American soldiers were killed; and local residents offered the troops bread and wine. “That warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” he said.

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