RANGOON, Burma -- For 15 years, Aung San Suu Kyi waited in her lakeside villa, confined to the small plot of land under house arrest, dreaming of her return to the world.

On Monday, the world, or a big piece of it, came calling on her.


President Obama waves as he embraces Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi after addressing members of the media at Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.  (Pablo Martinez -- AP)

The leaders of the free world had come with a message of hope for 60 million Burmese, but it was this bow and this hug, with this one resident, that symbolized the most — a scene almost unimaginable just two years ago when Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, was still a prisoner in her own home, and Burma was ruled by a repressive military junta.

“I’m proud to be the first American president to visit this spectacular country, and I am very pleased that one of my first stops is to visit with an icon of democracy who has inspired so many people, not just in this country but all around the world,” President Obama told reporters in a brief appearance with Suu Kyi after they met privately.

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