It's a bittersweet Memorial Day for the Weber family of Wausau. They've collected nearly 150,000 signatures as part of their petition drive to bring U.S. POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home. But they've also reached more than 1,000 days since he went missing in Afghanistan. The Taliban have held Bergdahl captive for three years, and Brenda and Rick Weber, and their son John, have taken it upon themselves to help aid in his safe return to American soil.
Three months after their efforts began, Brenda goes through the countless names who've signed their support. She can't help but also count the number of days that have gone by that the Bergdahl family is without their son. "My heart is very heavy knowing Bowe Bergdahl is a prisoner of war. He's America's boy, he's America's son, you know. I'm a mother, so is Jenny Bergdahl," she said.
Although the Webers had never met Sgt. Bergdahl or his parents before they began to raise awareness of his prisoner of war status, they say it's their patriotic duty to help. They're now hoping the government will do its part.
"We've actually written the president of the United States, President Obama, requesting a formal invite to visit him and personally hand him the almost 150,000 signatures," Brenda said.
What started out as a local effort, has turned into a movement that's touched lives here and all across the country.
"As a marine, I couldn't comprehend leaving someone behind," said Mitch Radtke, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He says the outpouring of support has made the effort to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home that much more real.
"I know some marines that have fallen," Radtke said. "And just becoming more aware that we still have POWs and families waiting for their sons and husbands and fathers to come home."
While talks between the U.S. and the Taliban have stalled in recent weeks, the Webers say they'll continue their efforts until his family can hold him in their arms once again.
"I know one day Bowe Bergdahl will go through these signatures and see how much he was loved and know he was never ever forgotten," Brenda said.
The Webers are still waiting to hear back from the White House about the invitation.