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

ROME (AP) — With a series of “Happy Birthdays” in Italian and English, the U.S. military toasted an Italian woman with a birthday cake Thursday to replace the only U.S. soldier who ate while entering his hometown during one of the last battles of World War II.

Meri Mion, who turns 90 on Friday, wiped away tears as she received the cake at a ceremony in Vicenza, northwest of Venice.

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

According to the US military, Mion spent that night with her mother hiding in the attic of their farmhouse in the nearby village of San Pietro in Gù.

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

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

But it disappeared – apparently slashed by starving American soldiers who had already been feted by grateful Italians with wine and bread as they entered Vicenza along its main thoroughfare.

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

She wowed ‘Mama mia’ and ‘Grazie’ as a small crowd of US commanders and Italian officials sang ‘Happy Birthday’.

“Tomorrow we will eat this dessert, with all my family in memory of this wonderful day that I will never forget,” Mion said, according to the US military.

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