US Army 'returns' cake to Italian woman for 90th birthday

Mischievous American soldiers during the Second World War nicked Meri Mion's 13th birthday cake

Soldiers from US Army Garrison Italy return a birthday cake to Meri Mion in Vicenza, northern Italy. Photo: US Army / AP
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With a round of Happy Birthday in both Italian and English, the US Army delivered a birthday cake to an Italian woman on Thursday to replace the one US soldiers ate as they entered her home town during one of the final battles of the Second World War.

Meri Mion, who turns 90 on Friday, wiped away tears as she was presented with the cake during a ceremony in Vicenza, north-west of Venice.

The event marked the anniversary of the day the 88th Infantry Division fought its way into the city on April 28, 1945.

The US Army said that Ms Mion spent that night with her mother hiding in the attic of their farm in the nearby village of San Pietro in Gu.

Retreating German soldiers had fired on the house, but when Ms Mion awoke on the morning of her 13th birthday, American soldiers were nearby.

In a statement, the US Army Garrison Italy said Ms Mion’s mother had baked her a birthday cake and left it on the windowsill to cool.

But it disappeared — apparently nicked by hungry American soldiers who had already been feted by grateful Italians as they entered Vicenza along its main thoroughfare.

Ms Mion seemed genuinely surprised that US soldiers had returned the cake 77 years later.

She murmured “mama mia” and “grazie” as a small crowd featuring US commanders and Italian officials sang Happy Birthday.

“Tomorrow, we will eat that dessert, with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget,” Ms Mion said, according to the US Army.

Updated: April 28, 2022, 5:17 PM