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June 19. 2014 9:49PM

POW/MIA vigil attendees glad Bergdahl was brought home

MEREDITH — For the 26th straight year, a vigil was held in Hesky Park to honor and remember prisoners of war Thursday, including special honors for a 91-year-old Hillsborough man who spent three years in a Japanese prison in World War II.

But fresh on everyone’s mind was the story of another POW who was just freed. After the 21st annual POW/MIA Freedom Ride, those attending the vigil heard two of the organizers, Bob Jones of Meredith and Don Amorosi of Glen Falls, N.Y., speak about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“Everyone’s thinking about it, we have to talk about it,” Jones said before the vigil.

As about 100 people looked on — including many bikers, as it is Bike Week — Amorosi said people should talk about Bergdahl.

“Up until three weeks ago, how many people knew Bowe Bergdahl’s name?” Amorosi said, adding that he, Jones and others have been working for five years to get Bergdahl released.

“Every senator and congressman in Washington has a letter from us about getting Bowe Bergdahl home,” he said. “He was a prisoner of war, we worked to get him home.”

Jones concurred.

“For 26 years, we have lived by four principles at this vigil: faith, trust, responsibility and accountability,” he said. “We are glad Sgt. Bergdahl is home, and for now our choice is to stick with the facts, and right now there aren’t a lot of facts. We’ll wait for the investigation for more facts.”

To a person, everyone asked at the vigil about Bergdahl had the same response.

“We’re all just glad he’s home,” Amorosi said.

Holly Tetreault, a blue-star mother with a son serving in the military, said Bergdahl’s return is a “triumph.”

“It’s a victory for everything we stand for in this country,” Tetreault said. “We don’t leave a man behind. The rest of it, all the politics, is now in God’s hands. He’ll face our justice system now, but we had to have him home. I put myself in his mother’s shoes.”

Wesley Wells, 91, of Hills­borough, a POW for three years in World War II, was honored for his service to America.

Asked about Bergdahl, he got emotional, but did not want to discuss the matter aside from saying he’s glad Bergdahl is back in the U.S.

“You have to understand,” Wells said, “I was a prisoner for three years.”

dseufert@newstote.com


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