Portrait Emerges Of America’s Only POW
Published: May 16, 2012
Portrait Emerges Of America’s Only POW, Bowe Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban has been an emotional roller coaster for his hometown.Afghanistan and America merge where Hailey, Idaho, begins to disappear into the woods, two blocks off Main Street, where Zaney’s River Street Coffee House sits behind a yard of bright yellow flowers. The one-story red wooden building is the heart of the Support Bowe Bergdahl movement. Bergdahl, 26, is a native son, having grown up by a dirt road that winds through a narrow river valley a few miles outside of town. He is one of the proud contributions of Hailey (pop. 8,000) to the U.S. military. The soldier has also been a captive of the Taliban in Afghanistan since late June 2009. He is America’s only current prisoner of war. He is the emotional vacuum in the heart of Hailey, with Zaney’s as ground zero for meetings, rallies and yellow ribbons for Bergdahl. Says Lee Ann Ferris, a local interior decorator: “The whole town has been affected. He’s like our kid too.” She says she imagines what must be going through his mind in faraway Afghanistan. “Every day he must be thinking about this little canyon, dreaming about it … probably what keeps him going,” she says.
Bergdahl’s father Bob has driven the local UPS route, which includes the ski resort of Sun Valley, for 28 years. “Long enough to know everyone,” says Sue Martin, the family friend who owns Zaney’s. A lean, athletic man in his early 50s, he has piercing blue eyes staring out of a head of sandy brown hair and the beard that he has been growing since he got news of his son’s capture. He could pass for a Taliban — in more ways than meet the eye. He says he is trying to learn Pashto and Urdu, the predominant languages along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier.
Bob Bergdahl was on his route on July 1, 2009, when he received word over UPS radio that he needed to return immediately to local headquarters. He arrived about 7 p.m. to see his wife Jani and uniformed Army officers standing in the company’s gravel lot. That’s when he received the devastating news. Jani Bergdahl would later tell her friend Sue Martin that it was going to take a lot of strength to get through the ordeal. As for Bob, says Martin, it was clear that “he was not going to succumb to the emotions of it as much as he’s going to participate in the resolution.”
Please feel free to send if you have any questions regarding this post , you can contact on