May 26, 2013. Hailey. This Memorial Day weekend, Americans will hopefully spend some of their time remembering those brave souls who lost their lives in defense of our country and the cause of freedom. But this year, we ask that you remember someone else – Bowe Bergdahl – America’s only official POW/MIA.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will have been a POW for four years as of next month.
Bring Bowe Back
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was born in 1986 in Sun Valley, Idaho. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in full swing, he joined the US Army and was assigned a combat roll in the 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Richardson, Alaska. By 2009, Bergdahl had rotated with his unit to the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, an area controlled by tribal militias located next to the Pakistani border.
On June 30, 2009, Bowe Bergdahl was reported missing in action near the Afghan town of Yahya Khel. It’s believed Bowe is a prisoner of the pro-Taliban, anti-US forces from the Haqqani Network and currently being held captive in an unknown location, possibly somewhere in neighboring Pakistan. Next month will mark the fourth year Bergdahl has been a prisoner of war.
The kid’s tough
It was this week last year that we at Whiteout Press first became aware of Bowe Bergdahl’s POW status and as we wrote then, the kid’s tough. At the time, we reported how Bowe’s parents, Bob and Jani, were growing frustrated with the Obama administration’s seeming inaction in regard to negotiating the release of their son.
Three years into his captivity, they decided to get the 27 year-old back with or without the US government’s help. Bob Bergdahl began growing out his beard and learning to speak Pashto and Urdu, the two languages spoken in the region his son was captured in. Bob fully intends to travel to Afghanistan, infiltrate the Pakistani-linked tribal militia, and rescue his son. ‘Tough’ must run in the family.
Like father like son – two of the reasons the Bergdahl family, and indeed the entire town of Hailey, Idaho, are so passionate about Bowe Bergdahl’s chances of survival are because his captors have released videos of the captured Army Sergeant and US officials have leaked reports of Bowe’s repeated attempts to escape. One can only imagine the smiles that overtook his parents’ faces when they found out that not only was he alive, but he was still fighting strong.
Read Whiteout Press’ article, ‘Don’t forget America’s Lone Current POW’ for more information.
Obama bungles Bergdahl’s release
As detailed in the above Whiteout Press report, President Obama is directly accused by many POW/MIA advocates of personally stopping Bowe Bergdahl from being released by his Taliban-backed captors. With Obama’s 2008 campaign promise of closing the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba extra-judicial prison, many hoped the President would use the opportunity to release five Taliban fighters held in the facility. With that being the only demand made by Bowe Bergdahl’s captors to earn his release, it seemed like it was a done deal and the three-year POW would finally be coming home.
But at the last minute, the Obama administration cancelled the exchange of prisoners. Contrary to his campaign promise, Guantanamo Bay would stay open indefinitely and Bowe Bergdahl would remain America’s lone prisoner of war. US media outlets reported last year that after weeks of no response from US officials, the Taliban-linked militia took Bowe’s release off the table and walked away from discussions in disgust.
June 22, 2013 event for Bowe Bergdahl
Showing they’re behind Bowe more than ever, his family, friends and the entire town of Hailey, Idaho will be throwing a community festival to commemorate Bergdahl’s fourth year as a POW. Held on June 22, 2013 at Hop Porter Park in Hailey from 1:00 to 5:00, the event will feature live bands, food, drinks, ice cream, activities for kids, and representatives from POW/MIA groups from across the country. Earlier in the day, a ‘5k Run/Walk for Bowe’ is also being held beginning at 11:00am.
At 2:00pm, a tree planting ceremony will be held at the park where four trees – one for each year of Bowe’s internment – will be planted. As the event website explains, ‘So that when he comes home he will know his community has never stopped thinking about him. It will also be a place for Jani and Bob, his parents, to go and feel close to their son.’
For those who like motorcycles, this event is for you. It’s no secret that military veterans like bikes, and bikers like military veterans. And they’re both fiercely protective of POW/MIA’s. The festival website proudly proclaims, ‘We have POW/MIA motorcycle groups coming in from all over to help us remember Bowe.’
For more information on the June 22 event, visit the Bring Bowe Back festival website.
For more information on Bowe Bergdahl, visit SupportBowe.org.
Related Whiteout Press articles:
Don’t forget America’s loan Current POW
Film documents American POW/MIA alive in Vietnam
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