Citing Safety Concerns, Hailey, Idaho Cancels Bergdahl Celebration

Jun 5, 2014

An annual rally turned homecoming celebration for released POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been canceled in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho. Boise State Public Radio’s Emilie Ritter Saunders explains the event is off because of safety concerns.

The small town of Hailey, Idaho has been inundated with angry emails and phone calls since the news spread Saturday that Sgt. Bergdahl had been released from Taliban captivity.

The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s 2009 capture have reignited a national debate over whether the 28-year-old sergeant deserted the U.S. Army, and the lengths the government was willing to go to get Bergdahl back.

The U.S., working through the government of Qatar, released five Taliban leaders detained at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl.

Now, event organizers in Hailey, say their planned celebration would have attracted too big a crowd of both supporters and protesters.

City officials say the small town doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a major event.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio