NEW YORK—Jani Bergdahl and her husband Bob rarely spoke to the media over the last five years as they fought to get their son, Bowe, back from captivity in Afghanistan.
Yet they did so Sunday, so that their words could reach Bowe when he’ll be ready to hear them.
“I love you Bowe. I’m so very proud of you,” said Jani Bergdahl in a shaky voice during the Sunday press conference, reading a letter to her son.
She urged Bowe Bergdahl to take time with his recovery, comparing it to how scuba divers need to return to the surface gradually, since sudden decompression may kill them. “There’s no hurry,” she said.
She also let him know many people all over the world were working on his release “never losing hope in you or for you.”
She said there are many people caring for Bowe in his town, state, and across the nation. “You have a very amazing support system among all of these people,” the mother continued.
“Bowe’s still very resilient,” the father said. “He’s passed through all the checkpoints with flying colors.”
Bob Bergdahl urged his son to trust people who are trying to help him. “We sent them. These are handpicked people,” he said. “We’re on first name basis with these people.”
He also said his son’s example can serve as a hope for other people who have loved ones in captivity all over the world.
Looking to the future, the family still has a long way to go. “The recovery and reintegration of Bowe Bergdahl is a work in progress,” Bob Bergdahl said. “It isn’t over for us.”
The father said that some time in the distant future there will be interviews and books, but until then he asked for patience and respect from both media and public.
“Five years is a seemingly endless long time,” Jani Bergdahl said, once again holding back her tears. “But you’ve made it.”