Hailey, Idaho calls off Bowe Bergdahl welcome-home celebration for 'safety' reasons

By Kyle Johnson,

The planned June 28 welcome-home party in Hailey, Idaho for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been cancelled due to "safety" issues.

In a statement sent to the Idaho Statesman, the organizers of the celebration cited "public safety" as they fear that national media attention centered on the soldier could bring in large crowds, much more than the small town could safely handle.

"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 organizers say that it appears that many interested in attending thought the celebration was meant to be a military parade and about 100 correspondences were being received daily.

Since the news of Bergdahl's return from Afghanistan after being held by the Taliban for five years came out, many have publicly pondered how he came to be captured in the first place. Still, Hailey has always supported Bergdahl and his parents, a co-organizer, Stefanie O'Neill, told TIME.

"People in Hailey have been aware for some time that there were question about how Bowe came to be captured, and that there was a chance that Bowe could be in trouble when he came home."

While many, especially politicians and those in the military, have criticized trading five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, Hillary Clinton backed up the Obama administration's move, saying that the captured soldier was at very least an American and the United States had a "tradition" of ensuring that nobody is left behind.



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