NPR Story
4:22 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Celebrities Don Bracelets In Support Of Northwest POW

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:05 am

U.S. diplomats are reportedly renewing their efforts to arrange a prisoner swap for a Northwest soldier who's been in Taliban captivity nearly five years.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be exchanged for five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Bergdahl's family in Hailey, Idaho, Tuesday welcomed the news and said they're cautiously optimistic their son could finally come home from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a Southern California-based veterans group called the American Soldier Network is getting involved. It's trying to enlist celebrities to wear a distinctive bracelet to bring public attention to the only U.S. POW from the war in Afghanistan.

Organization founder Annie Nelson says she's already got musicians Paul McCartney Queen Latifah, and sportscaster Marshall Faulk on board.

"You know, for whatever reason, when people tack the term 'celebrity' on someone that gives them credibility in a lot of people's eyes. People will pick up that message or their fan base will at least learn," Nelson says. "And yes, I hope more people know about Bowe and are like, 'If that was my boy, I would do everything I could to get him home.'"

Nelson says she hopes fans will put pressure on elected officials to jump start negotiations for Bergdahl's return.

The Bowe Bergdahl bracelets are black with yellow writing.

Bergdahl was captured in eastern Afghanistan in July 2009. Since then, he's appeared looking ragged in a handful of Taliban videos. The most recent surfaced in December.

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