Only a driver will be in the grand marshal’s car during Boise's 4th of July Liberty Day parade. The passenger seat will be vacant for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, captured by the Taliban two years ago. While most of the procession is expected to be a boisterous celebration, "We the People" organizers are asking parade watchers to be solemn as the vehicle with no passenger passes by.
“We couldn’t think of anyone better to represent our theme, ‘Stand for Liberty,’” spokesperson Elysse Barrett told Citydesk. “There’s been a lot of support in Idaho and Boise specifically.”
The missing soldier’s parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, accepted the title for their son in his absence.
“While it’s a celebration, we remember that there are still Idahoans out there fighting for our liberties and freedoms, even today,” said Barrett.
Larry Knapp will serve as the second marshal in the parade. Knapp is a Vietnam war veteran and a businessman, operating the 3K Ranch and Event Center in Star. The parade will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 4, in Downtown Boise.
A division of the Taliban supported by the Haqqani network reportedly captured Bergdahl, 25, at the Afghanistan-Pakistan boarder on June 30, 2009. He is currently the only U.S. service member in captivity. The Taliban released five videos of Bergdahl. In each, the soldier stated that he was fine, but wishing to return home. Since his imprisonment, Bergdahl has been promoted twice: to the rank of specialist in June 2010, and most recently to sergeant.