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June 2, 2014

Freed American soldier’s parents say they’re proud of son

(Continued)

BOISE, Idaho —

Bowe Bergdahl will begin the reintegration process at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he will be given time to tell his story, decompress and reconnect with his family through telephone calls and video conferences, a U.S. defense official said Saturday. Eventually, he is expected to be taken to a military base in Texas to reunite with his family.

Bob Bergdahl urged Bowe to trust his military reintegration team, and Jani Bergdahl told her son to take all the time he needs to heal and decompress. They said they were grateful for the work that the U.S. government and other countries — including Qatar, which served as a go-between in the negotiations — did to bring their son home.

“You are from a strong tribe, you are even stronger now,” Jani Bergdahl said. “Five years is a seemingly endless long time, but you’ve made it. ... You are free. Freedom is yours. I will see you soon, my beloved son.”

The parents were expected to head home to their small central Idaho town of Hailey on Sunday afternoon. They will be greeted by a community in celebration — yellow ribbons and support rallies have become a defining symbol of the region since Bergdahl was captured.

Bouquets of yellow balloons on the doors of Wood River Valley’s Presbyterian church met congregants Sunday morning, and ushers handed out yellow ribbons.

“Praise God for Bowe’s release,” church greeters said in welcome.

The Bergdahls would give near weekly updates at the church on the efforts to bring their son home.

The service was performed by former pastor Al Oliver, who led the church for nearly 15 years and knows the Bergdahl family.

“I am so happy to return here today after a joyous event,” Oliver said. “It’s a great time for celebration.”

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