Hundreds attend vigil for captured soldier
More than 500 people attended a vigil Wednesday night for an Idaho soldier who was captured in Afghanistan by the Taliban, reported AP.
The hourlong event was held in Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl's small hometown of Hailey, in central Idaho. It started at the coffee shop where he worked before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2008, and ended at a nearby park.
"Everyone has been talking about it and trying to show their support - bringing flowers for the family, bringing notes, thinking about him," said Suzanne Buchanan, who went to the vigil with her husband and three children. "We're just in shock this is happening here."
Many attendees wore yellow ribbons and daisies, carried signs or arrived on bicycles to show their support for Bergdahl, who often biked around town.
Bergdahl's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, and his older sister, Sky, have kept a low-profile since his capture and did not attend the event. They were expected to watch it live on local television, the Idaho Statesman reported.
"They're doing about as well as anybody can expect them to do," said Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, a spokesman for the Idaho National Guard who has been in daily contact with the family. "It's very difficult for them and all members of their family. I would say that they're staying as upbeat as they possibly could.
"The community support that they've gotten and what they're going to see tonight is going to hopefully buoy their spirits even more," Marsano said.
Family friends Gloria Gunter and Sue Martin read letters to the crowd written by the family.
"Bowe, I think you'd smile to see how many people love you," Sky Bergdahl wrote.
Bob and Jani Bergdahl wrote: "As our emotions settle to a slow-burning desire for Bowe's return, let us pledge to one another our mutual acts of love and kindness. And to Bowe, our only son, know that we love you."
The circumstances of Bowe Bergdahl's June 30 capture remain unclear. He was serving with a unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, earlier this month when he vanished, just five months after arriving in Afghanistan. He was serving at a base near the border with Pakistan in an area known to be a Taliban stronghold.
The 23-year-old appeared in a video released Saturday by the Taliban.
President Barack Obama has said the military is doing everything it can to rescue Bergdahl.
"It's been pretty hard to comprehend," said Sandi Pfau, a longtime Wood River Valley resident. "You do as little or as much as you can and hope for the best. Prayer is the only thing that's going to get him back here. That and a lot of good diplomacy."