The US military delivered a new birthday cake to an Italian woman. It’s been just 77 years since she ate the original gateau made for her 13th birthday by an American soldier who was fighting in her local village.
Sergeant Peter Wallis and Colonel Matthew Gomlak presented Meri Mion with an icing-covered cake topped with fresh fruit on Thursday, according to the official U.S. Army website.
The ceremony took place on April 29, ahead of Mion’s 90th birthday, and was hosted by Italian authorities at Giardini Salvi, a park in the center of Vicenza, Italy.
Mion was barely a teenager when the battle moved to her village of San Pietro.She hid in the attic with her mother when German soldiers opened fire near the farm.
When she woke up the next morning, the U.S. military had a freshly baked birthday cake her mother had left for her on the window sill.
At least 19 US soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting and several US tanks were destroyed. Vicenza locals then made connections with the US military and greeted the soldiers with bread and wine.
Military staff are working with the U.S. National Archives to source vintage combat films and imagery from battles that occurred in the city.
The footage, unveiled at the ceremony, also documents the friendship between the U.S. military and Vicenza residents after the fighting has calmed down.
“The warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” said Gomlak, commander of the US Army garrison in Italy.
Regarding Mion’s reaction to the gateau being stolen after the initial joy of his birthday, he added:
“It feels so good to give her a cake,” said military policeman Wallis.
Mion wiped away tears as hundreds of onlookers, including American and Italian soldiers, veterans, police and locals, watched the emotional exchange.
“Tomorrow, the whole family will eat that dessert in memory of this wonderful day that I will never forget,” Mion said.