Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl begged for his freedom. Now, almost five years after he was captured by the enemy, he is headed home.
“It’s a very exciting day near Idaho,” Bergdahl’s former roommate Sherry Horton said. “Everybody is celebrating. All restaurants are putting signs. It’s very exciting.”
The Idaho native was just 27-years old when he was taken by a group associated with the Afghan Taliban. His years in captivity, were captured on video. In exchange for his release, the United States negotiated the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar.
“Our primary focus I think as you all know was getting Sgt. Bergdahl back,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said. “As I’ve said, as President Obama said, as a result of the help of a lot of people.”
Bergdahl’s father even grew out his beard, and learned Arabic in his desperate attempts to communicate with his son’s captors.
“Your ability to adapt in the harsh conditions for five years is an amazing testimony of human endurance, and is hope for the loved ones of people who still have captive loved ones,” Robert Bergdahl said.
It’s hard to measure the true impact of his harrowing experience. But one thing is evident – the excitement surrounding his homecoming, long overdue.
“The family has been very resilient,” a community member said.
“The community hasn’t wavered in it’s commitment to get him freed. I think everybody either burst into tears or couldn’t get a silly grin off their faces. It’s long coming. It’s been five years. We’re just so relieved and grateful that he’s been freed.”