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Idaho town honors missing soldier

Hailey residents mark one year since Bergdahl was captured

BOISE – In a solemn procession, dozens of people on Wednesday replaced the now-tattered yellow ribbons that have flanked an Idaho town’s streets since a local soldier went missing in Afghanistan.

The effort commemorated the one-year mark since Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, disappeared and was later claimed as captured by the Taliban five months after arriving in Afghanistan.

It’s an anniversary the town hoped they wouldn’t see.

“Certainly everybody was hoping we’d be having a celebration to bring Bowe home in these past 12 months, but at the same time, we realize the difficult situation that he is in, and we need to support both Bowe and the Bergdahl family,” said Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling.

About 50 people gathered at Zaney’s River Street Coffee House, where Bergdahl used to work, to hear a statement from Bergdahl’s family, said Femling. The sheriff read the statement on the family’s behalf – Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Jani, have avoided the media spotlight and asked for privacy since their only son was captured.

Bowe hasn’t been forgotten for even a moment by his family, neighbors, nor by elected leaders in Boise and Washington, the family said.

“Over the past year, we’ve received many cards, letters and e-mails from around Idaho, America and overseas and we take great comfort in knowing that people care about Bowe and about us. People from all over the world have written us wonderful letters of support, and many of these people have experienced similar ordeals and great personal trials. We appreciate their sacrifices, and we are thankful they reached out to us,” the family said in the statement.

They went on to thank supporters for their continued hopes and prayers.

“We have no choice but to rise and meet the challenges that come to us. We believe this is what Bowe has done, and we’re following his lead. We’re trying to find courage and be patient while doing everything we can to keep hope during this difficult situation,” they said.

Hailey Mayor Rick Davis issued a proclamation that reaffirms the city’s commitment to support and encourage Bergdahl’s parents and friends.

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