HAILEY - Bowe Bergdahl's hometown has canceled an June 28 event celebrating the prisoner of war's release over concerns that Hailey's infrastructure wouldn't support the number of people who plan to attend.
The statement from the city of Hailey is below:
Hailey community members who worked during March and April of this year to organize their annual Bring Bowe Back event in Hailey have asked to cancel the event.
When the news of Bowe Bergdahl s release was announced this past Saturday, the organizers joyfully declared that the event would be renamed Bowe is Back, and would become a celebration of family and friends being reunited with their son who was had been held captive in Afganistan for five years. In the past, the event had been a celebration of support to the family through these many years.
National media attention on Hailey and this event has led many across the nation to believe that the event is intended to be a military parade. There is broad interest in this topic, as evidenced by the approximate 100 correspondences per day received by the City of Hailey this week. The organizers and Hailey expect a significant increase in attendance to this event, by people who both want to support or protest against it.
In the interest of public safety, the event will be cancelled. Hailey, a town of 8,000, does not have the infrastructure to support an event of the size this could become.
The Bergdahl family spokesperson, Sue Martin, says:
I will say that for me personally, I think it's just too soon in this process. I think there's a lot of emotions invovled here. I think the family needs some time to heal and a public event with celebration for me personally knowing Bowe, knowing his family, it would be hard for me to celebrate.
There is a lot of irony involved here. Bowe joined the Army voluntarily and the Army is engaged in protecting the rights of Americans and the freedoms that we enjoy and one of those is the freedom of speech. They absolutely have the right in freedom of speech, and I think Bowe would continue to support that as well as all the Army.
When it gets disfavorable and there's threats involved, then, you know, obviously those people have crossed the line. But I think they are really in the minority. He shall survive this, too.
We've been standing strong with Bowe, we can stand strong with Bowe a little longer, We can stand strong with Bowe for as long as he needs our support.