Euna Lee and Laura Ling

American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were finally reunited with their families five months after they were imprisoned in North Korea.

"When we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton," Ling said after she and Lee disembarked their jetliner to greet their loved ones Wednesday morning. "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."

While a teary-eyed crowd applauded, Ling expressed their "deepest gratitude" to the former president for negotiating with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who granted a special pardon on Tuesday.

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Ling — sister of former View co-host Lisa Ling — and Lee were arrested while reporting on the border between North Korea and China in March. The reporters, working for Al Gore's California-based media venture, Current TV, were sentenced in June to 12 years in labor camps for entering the country illegally with "extremely rude political motives."

Watch her speech in the video below: