Emotional Homecoming for Ling and Lee

August 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Their homecoming came after former President Bill Clinton made a special trip to North Korea to bring the two journalists home. They were sentenced earlier this year to 12-years in a work labor camp and their families feared the worst. But after months of secret planning, their return is a happy ending to what proved to be a complicated diplomatic mission. The plane landed in Burbank at dawn.

A smiling Laura Ling raised her arms in victory as she exited the aircraft and Euna Lee dissolved in tears as she hugged her 4-year-old daughter and her husband who she hasn't seen for 140 days.

There were tears all around and applause for Former President Bill Clinton who secured the journalists' release from North Korea.

Ling described their reaction when they first saw him: "We were shocked but we knew instantly in our hearts that our nightmare finally was coming to an end. Now we stand here home and free."

The mission had been in the works for months.

In July Ling and Lee told their families that the North Koreans said they would be freed if Clinton came to North Korea.

The White House insists the mission was not official and expressed relief it ended successfully. But some say the North Koreans will use these pictures of a smiling Kim Jong Il with former President Clinton as propaganda.

For Ling, Lee, and their families, though it is the happy ending they so desperately hoped for.

Watch video above for more ..

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