WWII veteran Bernie Friedenberg's daughter remembers dad at new war memorial in Atlantic City

Friday, July 5, 2024
WWII veteran's daughter remembers dad at new memorial in Atlantic City
There's a new World War II memorial in Atlantic City named for longtime resident Bernie Friedenberg, but dedicated to all who served in that war.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Susan Friedenberg's father, Bernie, served during the second world war and is now cast as a hero.

"He was a great man and a great father," says Friedenberg. "My dad passed away May 1, 2018."

The Bernie Friedenberg World War II Memorial now stands in his hometown of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"He got two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Medals," she says.

Friedenberg says because of their Jewish heritage, her dad was eager to enlist after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

"He wanted to go fight Nazis," she says.

Initially, he was turned down due to poor eyesight, but eventually the Army trained him as a medic.

Bernie Friedenberg helped the wounded through many WWII battles, including Operation Torch in North Africa and the Campaign in Sicily. He was on Omaha Beach during D-Day and went through Germany and the Battle of the Bulge.

"He was everywhere," she says. "It depicts my father on his knees cradling a wounded soldier."

Even though the statue is in his likeness and the memorial bears his name, there is a bigger message.

"This monument is to honor all World War II veterans," she says.

The Friends of Bernie Friedenberg Committee was formed to help oversee the building of the memorial. The small ad-hoc group also helped to raise funds to work towards completion.

"This whole thing is called The Cost of Freedom Circle," says Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Doug Satterfield. "Because that's really what it's about."

Satterfield also served as Co-Chair of the Friends of Bernie Friedenberg Committee. He and another veteran, Marco Polo Smigliani, also part of the group, understand that cost.

Satterfield spent forty years in the service and saw three years of combat, mainly in Iraq, while Smigliani spent six years serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and Merchant Marines during Vietnam.

Smigliani also says he was friends with Bernie Friedenberg for over 25 years. They met doing advocacy work for fellow veterans.

"We belonged to Atlantic County Veterans Advisory Board together and he was like a father figure," he says.

The memorial starts in 1941 at Pearl Harbor and there are markers representing the two theaters of World War II placed around the circle.

"This right here is the Pacific Theater, and then the other side is the European Theater," says Smigliani.

"These are the major battles," says Satterfield.

"It's got how many of our boys died, how many were POWs and how many were injured," says Friedenberg.

"You realize what a terrible, terrible price was paid by these men and women and their families," says Smigliani.

Satterfield says those that served were "freeing the world from fascism and imperialism."

Friedenberg says she hopes the memorial will help to educate people on what it means to serve.

"Freedom is not free," she says. "It was bought and paid for by the blood and the souls of our warriors in both campaigns, every war."

"The sacrifices they made, we could never repay them, so this is our way," says Smigliani.

"I know he would be honored," says Friedenberg.

For more information, visit: BernieFriedenbergWorldWarIIMemorial.com