Freed U.S. Journalists Come Home

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After being held captive in North Korea since March, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee (in gray) arrive in Burbank, California, on Wednesday.

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Euna Lee is greeted by her husband Michael Saldate and their 4-year-old daughter Hana.

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At the right, Laura Ling hugs her husband Ian Clayton.

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Ling and Lee were preparing a report for Current TV, an independent media company, when they were captured in North Korea. Former Vice President Al Gore, the founder of Current TV, was present in Burbank to welcome the two journalists home.

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Speaking to reporters gathered around the airplane, Gore thanked former President Clinton, as well as the Obama administration, for bringing the two women back to the United States. “To everybody who has played a part in this,” he said, “we are so grateful.”

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Ling spoke briefly to reporters. “Thirty hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea. We feared that at any moment we could be prisoners in a hard labor camp. Then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. We were taken to a location and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton. We were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end. And now we stand here home and free.”

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Lisa Ling (left), the sister of freed journalist Laura Ling (right), smiles during Wednesday morning’s reunion.

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President Obama told the press that he was “extraordinarily relieved” by the journalists’ return. He also thanked former President Clinton for his help in bringing back the two women.

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