warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Homecoming Celebration For Idaho Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl Cancelled

Kathy Zerbib |
June 5, 2014 | 4:13 p.m. PDT

Senior Entertainment Editor

Traitor or hero? (Twitter/@NBCLA)
Traitor or hero? (Twitter/@NBCLA)
Controversy surrounding the United States' decision to trade five Taliban members for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has pushed his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, to cancel its planned homecoming celebration for him.

READ MORE: American POW Spotted Alive In Video

Bergdahl's hometown originally planned to throw a party in late June to honor Bergdahl's return from Afghanistan. The 28-year-old was said to have walked away from his unit while unarmed and subsequently captured and imprisoned by the Taliban for almost five years. 

… Or was he?

Multiple reports claim Bergdahl was not tortured for five years as believed. Multiple Facebook pages (See "Bowe Bergdahl Is NOT A Hero"), online petitions, and feature pieces on other army members all criticize the U.S.' trade. 

Soldiers who served with him accuse Bergdahl of deserting his post and costing American military lives when troops went to search for him. Many Americans label him as a deserter and not worthy of trading American prisoners for.

These were not average Taliban members whom the government agreed to release from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. forked over five of the top Taliban commanders in exchange for Bergdahl. Critics believe they could resume their terrorist activities once returned.

Many are enraged over this decision and believe Bergdahl should be punished for quitting on his team.

Their rage has sparked countless hate mail and angry phone calls to the people of Hailey. A debate has erupted in Washington over the government's decision.

READ MORE: The Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Stirs Up Criticism On Both Sides

Now, with the persistent influx of backlash, the party organizers have decided to cancel its festivities for security reasons.

Bergdahl is currently in stable condition at a military hospital in Germany.

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Kathy Zerbib here. Follow her on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.