US Army Garrison Italy Replaces Birthday Cake Stolen from Italian Girl 77 Years Ago

Photo Credit: Laura Kreider / U.S. Army Garrison Italy / DVIDS / Public Domain

Soldiers with US Army Garrison Italy have returned a birthday cake members of the 88th Infantry Division stole from a 13-year-old Italian girl 77 years before during the Second World War.

Meri Mion holding miniature American flags
Photo Credit: Laura Kreider / U.S. Army Garrison Italy / DVIDS / Public Domain

The girl, Meri Mion, celebrated her 90th birthday on April 29, 2022. In recognition of the occasion, an event was held at Giardini Salvi, in Vicenza, close to where the 88th Infantry Division fought its way into the city on April 28, 1945.

That morning, US troops engaged in battle with German forces, resulting in at least 19 American soldiers suffering injuries or losing their lives. While the fighting was occurring, soldiers with the 91st Infantry Division drove north from the Riviera Berica into Vicenza.

They later paraded through Corso Palladio, the city’s thoroughfare, where residents offered them wine and bread.

Birthday cake with "BUON 90 COMPLEANNO!" written in chocolate
Photo Credit: Laura Kreider / U.S. Army Garrison Italy / DVIDS / Public Domain

Mion lived in the nearby village of San Pietro, in Gù. She’d spent the night of April 27, 1945 hiding with her mother in the attic of their farm, which sat along the town’s main road. While the Germans were retreating, they fired shots near the residence. When she and her mother awoke the next morning, American forces were nearby.

As her 13th birthday was the next day, Mion’s mother baked her a cake, which she placed on the windowsill to cool. It was then that it was taken by US soldiers.

Meri Mion being presented with her birthday cake
Photo Credit: Laura Kreider / U.S. Army Garrison Italy / DVIDS / Public Domain

The event on April 28, 1945 was attended by hundreds of Italian soldiers and veterans, local residents and officials, US veterans, and carabinieri. Sgt. Peter Wallis, who recently won the Installation Management Command – Europe Best Warrior contest, and Col. Matthew Gomlak, commander of US Army Garrison Italy, gave Mion a brand new cake to replace the one stolen all those decades ago.

Col. Gomlak spoke of the fighting that occurred and the welcome US soldiers received. “That warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” he said.

Soldiers walking with American and Italian flags
Photo Credit: Laura Kreider / U.S. Army Garrison Italy / DVIDS / Public Domain

Mion planned to save the cake for the next day, saying, “Tomorrow, I will eat that dessert with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget.”

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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