But the release of the American soldier in a prisoner swap with the Taliban has drawn a less savory form of attention, surprising some townspeople who are more used to entertaining happy tourists than being part of a national debate. The community canceled a planned welcome-home celebration rather than become ground zero for criticism of the deal that freed its native son.
As Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl recovers from five years as a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan and amid questions about whether he’s a hero or a deserter, some who know him say his personality is too multi-faceted to be summed up so neatly in black and white.
The tearful mother of the only known U.S. prisoner of war said Saturday she’s feeling “very optimistic” about his eventual release after his Taliban captors offered last week to exchange him for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.