For an hour Monday afternoon, two-year old Nelson Kimbrough was a bundle of energy.

He ran, squealed and seemingly bounced off the walls inside the Meridian Regional Airport terminal located on Hwy. 11 South.

He was waiting for his "daddy" to come home.

When Charles Kimbrough walked through the gates of the airport and lifted his son to his chest, the child fell peacefully silent. The two engaged in an embrace that in the mind of Kimbrough had happened a thousand times while he sat in a Kuwaiti prison. This time, however, the embrace was different. It was not a dream ... it was the real thing.

For several long moments nothing was said. A little boy's hand gently patted his daddy's back while the child muttered, "Daddy. Home."

Kimbrough was being held in a Kuwaiti prison after being accused of an undisclosed crime. At the time of the accusation, he was working for a Kuwaiti trucking company that convoyed materials back and forth into Iraq. In April of 2007 he was apprehended by Kuwaiti authorities and thrown into a prison. For the past 11 months family, friends, attorneys and officials with the United States Embassy in Kuwait City have tried to have Kimbrough's case heard or dismissed. It has been a grueling ordeal that included beatings and torture. Kimbrough lost 40 pounds while being held.

Recently his case was finally heard and he was acquitted of the charge. Now he is home, reunited with his son, family and friends.

"It is such a relief to be home," said Kimbrough who was still holding his son in his arms. "I'm so thankful. And all these people are here to see me. I'm just glad to be home finally."

Standing very close was Kimbrough's mother, Charlotte Kimbrough, who traveled to Kuwait to see her son and to bring her grandson, Nelson, home.

"I was able to see Charlie twice while in Kuwait," Charlotte Kimbrough said. "There were many difficulties along the way and this has been a very trying time for all of us. But thankfully everything has turned our OK. We are very blessed to have this day."

Charles Kimbrough left his home in northern Lauderdale County to work for Haliburton as a truck driver in the convoys carrying military materials of all types to Iraq from Kuwait. After 15 months Haliburton lost the contract and Kimbrough eventually landed a job with the Kuwaiti company.

Details at this time are sketchy as to the crime Charles Kimbrough was charged with but the recent acquittal has effectively cleared his name of any wrongdoing. Charlotte Kimbrough said it was through the work and diligence of Mississippi Congressman Chip Pickering's office, officials with the United States Embassy and the prayers of those here in Lauderdale County that has resulted in this joyous homecoming.

Greg Hatcher, who is a candidate for the Third Congressional District seat being vacated by Pickering, is also Charles Kimbrough's cousin. He noted the difference in the two countries based on Kimbrough's experience.

"Over there you are guilty until proven innocent whereas in America you are innocent until proven guilty," Hatcher said as he watched family and friends huddle around Charles Kimbrough. "It is times like this where I'm reminded of just how great this country is. We should never forget this type of lesson."

After a half-hour of getting reacquainted with everyone, Charles Kimbrough, who still hadn't set his son down, walked out of the terminal to begin putting his life back together. There are sure to be a lot of real hugs coming his way.

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