It’s never too late to right a wrong!
On April 28, 1945, Meri Mion spent the night hiding in the attic as American soldiers clashed with the German army in the village of San Pietro, near Vicenza, Italy. The next morning, on Meri’s 13th birthday, her mother decided to cheer everyone up by baking her a birthday cake. Sadly, Meri never got to eat that cake.
Instead, hungry U.S. soldiers from the 88th Infantry Division who were marching through the village spied the cake cooling on a windowsill and stole it. Nineteen U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle to liberate the city, but they were ultimately victorious. That night, the soldiers marched through town and Italians offered them bread and wine in gratitude.
Somehow, one of those soldiers remembered swiping that cake! Seventy-seven years later, soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Italy finally returned Meri’s long-lost birthday cake just days before her 90th birthday.
Vincenza officials, members of the U.S. Army, and local friends and family from the community gathered at Giardini Salvi in Vicenza for a make-up birthday party. They sang “Happy Birthday” in both Italian and English, and gave Meri a yummy-looking cake to replace the one she should have had all those years ago.
Meri wiped away tears as the soldiers sang to her and said she plans to share the cake with her family.
“We will eat that dessert with all my family, remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget,” she said.
It’s never easy to admit to doing something wrong, and Sgt. Peter Wallis agrees that it was “a little awkward” to hand over the replacement cake, but it’s never too late to do the right thing.
“It makes me feel great,” Sgt. Wallis said.
What a beautiful tribute, and a good reminder that World War II wasn’t as long ago as it seems. We’re so glad our brave soldiers were triumphant that day — and that they remembered to replace what they took!
Watch Meri’s birthday party in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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