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August 5th, 2009
01:25 PM ET

Freed journalist: 'We are so happy to be home'

BURBANK, California (CNN) - Laura Ling on Wednesday expressed the shock she and Euna Lee felt when former President Clinton showed up in Pyongyang, North Korea, to help secure the two journalists' release.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/05/art.family.afp.gi.jpg caption="Euna Lee, left, and Laura Ling go to hug their families Wednesday after arriving in California from North Korea."]

"We feared at any moment that we could be sent to a hard labor camp and then suddenly we were told we were going to a meeting," a tearful and emotional Ling said at a news conference in California shortly after arriving by plane with Lee and Clinton.

She spoke minutes after the two women were reunited with their families at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank outside Los Angeles. They had been detained in North Korea since March.

North Korea pardoned Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, after Clinton's brief trip Tuesday to Pyongyang.

"We were taken to a location, and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton," Ling said with Lee standing beside her.

"We were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end."

She expressed her and Lee's "deepest gratitude" to Clinton and his "wonderful, amazing" team.

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Filed under: North Korea
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    It was a great ending for this story and am glad they are home. The most emotional moment for me was describing their "meeting" walking through the door and seeing Bill Clinton. I can only imagine that moment and the feelings.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  2. Bernice

    Cost? It cost the actor, who donated his time and plane, $200,000. That is a REAL LOVING AMERICAN! It did not matter the cost, just that AMERICANS now are safely home with thier loved ones, in the country that they adore!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  3. CHUCK

    THE WOMAN THAT CALLED IN TO CNN TO FIND OUT THE COST FOR THE TRIP SHOULD SHUT HER TRAP MOUTH UP. THE TWO AMERICANS ARE PRICELESS AND ANY AMERICAN IN HARM'S WAY NEEDS TO BE RESCUED REGARDLESS OF THE COST ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO COUNTRIES LIKE NORTH KOREA. GOD BLESS PRESIDENT CLINTON AND THE ADMINISTRATION FOR BRINGING THESE TWO AMERICANS HOME.

    August 6, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  4. JEZEBEL58

    And again ,great job Mr.Clinton you still have what it takes to get the job done.

    August 6, 2009 at 6:46 am |
  5. JEZEBEL58

    It was heartbreaking to see Euna lee in tears when she saw her daughter,just imagine her thought of not seeing her daughter for twelve years and there she was.It was wonderful to see these two women back on American soil again and although in a lot of people's mind they are to blame but they were just doing their jobs as I am sure a lot of your CNN and other network employees have done in foreign countries.Countries like that fear the U.S and would do whatever they can,in hindsight stay away.

    August 6, 2009 at 6:40 am |
  6. Bernice

    Great job, Mr. Clinton! Wishing that you were back in the oval office. America needs you, but we were happy to see that even though this administration could do nothing, it took a man of honor and diplomacy to make this trip a total success! You get full credit. I am sure that the ladies, thier families, and the American People ....thank you.

    August 6, 2009 at 6:20 am |