U.S. soldiers apparently ate Meri Mion's 13th birthday cake as they helped liberate Italy in 1945, while others made up for the loss on her 90th birthday last year, and on Thursday, served as pallbearers at her funeral.
Mion died surrounded by her children in the northern city of Vicenza, west of Venice, on March 5, following a brief illness.
U.S. Army Garrison Italy soldiers volunteered as pallbearers at her funeral in a gesture of support to her family. Last April, soldiers from the same garrison presented a birthday cake to Mion, 77 years after hers had disappeared from the window sill where her mother left it to cool.
The original cake had been apparently nicked by hungry American soldiers who had already been feted by grateful Italians with wine and bread as they entered Vicenza along its main thoroughfare.
During the ceremony last year, Mion seemed genuinely surprised that U.S. soldiers made the gesture after so many years. She marveled "Mamma mia" and "Grazie" as a small crowd featuring U.S. commanders and Italian officials sang "Happy Birthday."