Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is welcoming the release of the lone U.S. solider held in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

During an appearance Saturday in the Rose Garden, Obama says that while Bergdahl was gone, “he was never forgotten.” The president was joined at the White House by the soldier’s parents, Bob and Joni Bergdahl.

President Obama speaks at the White House and is joined by parents, Bob and Joni Bergdahl. (Image source: White House/YouTube)

President Obama speaks at the White House and is joined by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Joni Bergdahl. (Image source: White House/YouTube)

Bergdahl was turned over by the Taliban earlier Saturday in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees who were held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama says the U.S., quote, “does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.”

Bergdahl’s father thanked all those who took part in his son’s recovery, saying it was difficult to put his feelings into words.

Head to the 15:28 mark in the below clip to begin the just-completed statement:

This post has been updated.

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