June 15, 2013. Hailey. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is America’s only official Prisoner of War. The 27 year-old Idaho soldier has been held prisoner by al Qaeda and Taliban allied forces since his capture in Afghanistan four years ago. Next Saturday, thousands will gather in his home town to tell the world that America wants Bowe back!
Hundreds of bikers will cross the Northwest Saturday, timing their arrival to coincide with the ‘Bring Bowe Back’ event in Hailey, Idaho.
Readers and subscribers of Whiteout Press are no stranger to Bowe Bergdahl or his story. More than a year ago, we wrote, ‘On June 30, 2009, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. His family, and indeed the entire city of Hailey, Idaho, have pressed for his negotiated release ever since. Now, three years later, Bergdahl’s friends, family and neighbors are sensing their last chance to get him home are slipping away.’
The American POW’s situation is historic for a number of reasons. Most obviously, he’s the only official POW/MIA from both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bowe’s father, Bob Bergdahl, gained national attention when he announced that he wasn’t waiting for Washington to get his son back any longer. He was growing his beard out, learning to speak Afghanistan’s languages and preparing to travel to Pakistan to infiltrate the Islamic insurgent organization that is holding his son captive.
Bowe’s story is noteworthy for another reason as well. His release was all but secured until President Obama inexplicably walked away from the negotiating table after seemingly coming to a prisoner exchange agreement. Bergdahl’s captors reportedly made public overtures to US negotiators, hoping to get the US POW off their hands and win the release of a small handful of captured insurgent fighters. But after being repeatedly rebuffed by the Obama administration, they have since walked away from the negotiating table as well.
Benefit for Bowe
Next Saturday – June 22, 2013 – the residents of Hailey, Idaho will hold a benefit for Bowe Bergdahl in his home town. In an email from event organizer Debbie O’Neill, she asks, “If this was your son or your daughter would you not be doing everything you could to get him or her home?” O’Neill continues, “We hope that you will all join us on June 22nd in Hailey, Idaho to show your support for our American POW and his family.”
Saturday’s benefit is an all-day event with numerous activities and attractions to keep fest-goers busy. In the morning, there will be a ‘5k Run/Walk for Bowe’. In the afternoon, there will be a tree planting ceremony at the town park. And throughout the day, there will be music, games, bands, food, ice cream, activities for kids and representatives from a number of POW/MIA organizations.
‘Bring Him Home (Bowe’s Song)’ by Donnie Ray Hutson
Vets love bikes and bikers love vets
When the ‘Bring Bowe Back’ event was first announced, a small handful of POW/MIA-supporting bikers stepped forward to lend their wholehearted support and participation. What began with a couple dozen motorcycle enthusiasts has grown into an army of bike-riding veterans and their supporters.
The email from event organizer O’Neill proudly proclaims, “In addition to the event, 500 motorcycles will be meeting in Jerome, Idaho at the Flying J where they will be escorted to the event by Police Chief Jeff Gunter the 50 miles to Bellevue where they will then meet up with the motorcycle groups from Boise, Idaho.”
Bowe’s family and friends are encouraged by the outpouring of support. Beginning as a small, local, home town gathering, the fest has turned into a national event. Organizers are estimating as many as 2,000 people will attend on Saturday. We at Whiteout Press hope and suspect the actual attendance will be even higher. We strongly encourage readers to support and participate in the Bring Bowe Back festival.
For more information on Bowe Bergdahl, visit SupportBowe.org.
For more information on the June 22, Bring Bowe Back event, visit the event website.
Related Whiteout Press Articles:
On Memorial Day, remember America’s lone POW/MIA
Don’t forget America’s lone current POW
Americans Abandoned – POW/MIA’s in Vietnam