Grammy winner Carole King was scheduled to perform at a public party for the returned POW
Mayor Fritz Haemmerle canceled the celebration citing fears for the public safety
But some members of the community were outraged that the town would pay homage to a soldier who many believe is a deserter - or worse
By Ryan Parry In Hailey, Idaho
Published: 16:41 EST, 4 June 2014
A public welcome home celebration featuring Grammy-winning singer Carole King in honor of freed POW Bowe Bergdahl in the tiny town of Hailey, Idaho was abruptly cancelled today.
The official reason given was a concern for public safety, but MailOnline has learned that it was not the only reason the party was scrubbed.
Today's decision follows a row that erupted in Hailey between Mayor Fritz Haemmerle and US Army Platoon Commander Jonathan Kennedy, who lives in Hailey.
And Kennedy wasn't the only towns person who voiced disapproval of a celebration for the soldier under fire.
Mayor Haemmerle wanted to throw a welcome home party for Bergdahl, who has been released after five years as a Taliban hostage.
But since claims of Bergdahl’s alleged desertion in Afghanistan and the political fallout surrounding his return, the mayor’s office has been inundated with calls and emails in opposition to the plans.
The Army tank platoon commander weighed in and said a public ceremony to celebrate Bergdahl’s return would be a ‘monstrous profanity’.
In an email to Mayor Haemmerle - seen by MailOnline - former US Army platoon leader Jonathan Kennedy said: ‘If Individual members of the community wish to hold sedate, private celebrations to commemorate Bowe Bergdahl's homecoming, they are of course free and welcome to do so.
It would be, however, a monstrous profanity if a public ceremony, financed by public money, were to be held.
‘It would be more monstrous still if this ceremony were to, in any way, heap undeserved adulation on Bergdahl, or to adopt the sickly hue of ostentatious jingoism that all too often colors such occasions.’
Kennedy, 30, said the fact that Bergdahl has been repatriated ‘is an unambiguously positive development’, adding that he shares the community’s ‘relief’ that Bergdahl will be reunited with his family.
But he said: ‘I do, however, think it is incumbent upon members of this community to come to terms with the fact that, while one town will soon be reunited with a native son, there are six other towns scattered across this country that never will be.’
Kennedy is referring to the six soldiers later killed in Paktika province, Afghanistan believed to be in connection with attempts to rescue Bergdahl.
He added: ‘Until he is cleared of the charges against him, this man deserves no applause. For now, the only appropriate response is silence.’
Mr Kennedy served in the US Army as a platoon commander from 2009-2013, during which he was posted to South Korea.
He is now an executive at a recruiting firm in New York.
In response to Kennedy’s email Mayor Haemmerle replied: ‘Past celebrations have focused on bringing this soldier home. Regardless of the character of the men and women who choose to serve, we do not leave our soldiers behind.
‘You have to remember that Bowe Bergdahl's family also are a part of our community. I have known Bob for thirty years.
‘From my standpoint, our celebration will focus on Bowe Bergdahl's release and the relief of his family and those who live here.
‘Again, from my standpoint, any celebration exists separate and apart from any objective inquiry on how Bergdahl was captured.’
Kennedy feared that an annual event called 'Bring Bowe Back' that was scheduled for June 28 would now be the venue for the welcome celebration.
The event was quickly renamed by locals as 'Bowe is Back'.
'It is going to be Bowe's official welcome-home party even if he's not quite home yet," organizer Stefanie O'Neill said on the weekend before it was canceled.
Grammy Award Winner Carole King was on tap to sing and Bergdahl’s parents Bob and Jani were due to talk at the event at Hop Potter Park in Hailey.
The event, which normally attracts 10-15,000 people, was include a motorcycle ride from Twin Falls, to Hailey Idaho and a
Bergdahl, 28, had been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.
He was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees held by the United States.
In Hailey, a town of 7,000 people, residents have hung yellow ribbons along Main Street.
Signs have been taped up in windows saying, 'Bowe is free at last!'
At Zaney's River Street Cafe, where Bergdahl used to work as a barista, a sign that hung in the window for years read 'Get Bowe Back'.
Now, it is accompanied with two more signs that read, 'Welcome home, Bowe!' and 'Our prayers have been answered!'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648874/Mayor-cancels-plan-welcome-home-celebration-Hailey-Idaho-honor-freed-POW-Bowe-Bergdahl-local-Army-commander-calls-monstrous-profanity.html#ixzz33j9ScoBZ
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