The Long Walk Home

A few weeks after the fighting stopped in Kosovo last spring, 14-year-old Ibadete Thaqi and her family were among the thousands of frightened Albanians who were finally able to return to their homes.

For many reasons, CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell reports, the homecoming was a day that she can never forget.

"I remember that day as a happy day and as a very, very, very sad day because it changed all my life," says Thaqi.

As Ibadete stepped on the stairs of her home to retrieve a pail, a landmine left behind by Serb soldiers exploded.

She lost both her legs.

CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen first met Ibadete at a university hospital in Pristina last year.

"I just said, 'Oh, my God! What happened with me? I was so good. I was a young girl and now I'm lying in the bed with no legs,'" Ibadete says of her first reaction to the loss of her limbs.

Sponsored by an international refugee group, Ibadete and her mother Squri have been in New York for five months, where, slowly, on artificial legs, Ibadete is learning to walk again.

The day she took her first steps, says Ibadete,"was a beautiful day for me. I will never forget that day."

Almost everyday, Ibadete goes for physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery, which is paying for her treatment and rehabilitation.

Glen Garrison, who is teaching Ibadete to adjust to her new legs, says that watching Ibadete has taught him a very important lesson.

"I've learned a lot from her," says Garrison. "It's that attitude: looking back gets you nowhere, you've got to look forward and you've got to reach for your goal and you will get there."

"She doesn't let anything get in her way," he says.

That despite unimaginable obstacles. Six weeks ago, Ibadete was walking without the aid of a walker but fell and broke a bone in her thigh. So now she is starting from scratch.

"I get sad many times and I cry," she says. "When I feel sad I always think about the other kids that are back in my country who have no legs, no arms and did not have this opportunity that I have. At least I'm here and I'm doing better and better everyday."

Ibadete is eager to go home soon, but not until she can walk again on her own. She hopes to one day to become a doctor, so she can help her countrymen the same way she was helped in America.

"Being in America I've learned about generosity. I learned about the love," Ibadete says. "People here did not know me at all and they surrounded me with love and care, so I think that when I go back to Kosova, I do want to so the same thing. I do want to try to help people and do as much as people here in America did for me."