Soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Italy returned a birthday cake to Meri Mion
Thursday – 77 years after American troops fighting near Vicenza ate the cake
made for her thirteenth birthday.
Mion, 89, of Vicenza, was the guest of honor at the midday event, held
together with Vicenza officials at Giardini Salvi, very close to where the
88th Infantry Division fought its way into the city on April 28, 1945.
Sgt. Peter Wallis, of Seabeck, Washington, who recently won Installation
management Command – Europe Best Warrior contest presented the cake to Mion, with Col. Matthew Gomlak, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy. Hundreds of people, to include Italian soldiers, carabinieri, U.S. veterans Italian veterans, plus many local residents watched on.
The sun was shining in Giardini Salvi during the brief ceremony, where
Gomlak spoke of the combat that occurred on nearby Corso San Felice e
Fortunato. It was raining and thunder the morning when 88th
Infantry Division Soldiers battled German defenders. At least 19 U.S.
Soldiers were killed or wounded.
Other Americans, from the 91st Infantry Division, drove north from the
Riviera Berica into the city. Later, they paraded through Corso Palladio,
Vicenza’s famous thoroughfare, where Italians offered them bread and wine.
Mion, 89, of Vicenza, was a 13-year-old when Americans came to her nearby
village, San Pietro in Gų. She spent the night hiding with her mother in the
attic of their farm along the main road of town. Retreating Germans fired
shots near her house, memories that haunted her for years afterward. She
awoke the next morning, Americans were nearby. Her mother prepared a
birthday cake for her. Fresh from the oven, the cake went to the window
Mion thanked the Americans for remembering her and replacing her cake all
these years later. She turns 90 on April 29. This year, she will take the
cake home to share with loved ones, she said.
“Tomorrow, we will that desert with all my family remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget” Mion said.