The US Army has given a birthday cake to an Italian woman – to replace one that American soldiers stole from her as it cooled by a window 77 years ago.
Meri Mion – who turns 90 on Friday – was 13 when her village of San Pietro, near Vicenza, saw fighting between US troops and German soldiers.
Her mother made her a birthday cake, but it was taken by the opportunistic – and presumably hungry – Americans.
Ms Mion said she would share the replacement cake with her relatives.
“We will eat that dessert with all my family, remembering this wonderful day that I will never forget,” she said.
The US Army presented the cake at a ceremony on Thursday at Giardini Salvi in Vicenza, alongside members of the military, local officials and residents.
Sgt Peter Wallis, who handed over the dessert, said it was “a little awkward” to replace the stolen goods, “but it makes me feel great”.
At the ceremony, Col Matthew Gomlak, commander of the US Army garrison in Italy, spoke of the fighting in 1945 between US and German forces at Corso San Felice e Fortunato in Vicenza.
At least 19 US soldiers were killed or wounded, and several US tanks destroyed. Local Italians offered bread and wine to the American troops.
“That warm welcome by the people of Vicenza continues to this day,” Col Gomlak said.
The night before her birthday, all those years ago, Ms Mion hid with her mother in the attic at their farm as fighting raged nearby.
The next morning, her mother made the cake. But “her happiness turned into disappointment later when the resourceful American soldiers made off with [it]”, Col Gomlak said.
Video on the US Army website shows Ms Mion wiping away tears as the cake was handed over, while “happy birthday” was sung in Italian and English.