Bergdahl welcoming home event canceled, town cites public safety

Bergdahl welcoming home event canceled, town cites public safety »Play Video

HAILEY, Idaho (KBOI) -- A welcoming home event planned for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been canceled.

Hailey officials say the event was canceled "in the interest of public safety" and that the city, population 8,000, doesn't have the infrastructure to support what could be such a large gathering of supporters and protesters.

City hall staff have received hundreds of phone calls and emails from folks from all over the country -- most of them negative.

"(I have an) idea....send an invitation to the families of the six honorable soldiers killed trying to find him on his 'walk a bout," one email, obtained by KBOI 2News read.'

Here's the full news release:

Hailey community members who worked during March and April of this year to organize their annual Bring Bowe Back event in Hailey have asked to cancel the event. 

When the news of Bowe Bergdahl's release was announced this past Saturday, the organizers joyfully declared that the event would be renamed Bowe is Back, and would become a celebration of family and friends being reunited with their son who was had been held captive in Afganistan for five years.  In the past, the event had been a celebration of support to the family through these many years.

National media attention on Hailey and this event has led many across the nation to believe that the event is intended to be a military parade.  There is broad interest in this topic, as evidenced by the approximate 100 correspondences per day received by the City of Hailey this week.  The organizers and Hailey expect a significant increase in attendance to this event, by people who both want to support or protest against it. 

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.