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Smart family pushes Amber alert

Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed Smart.

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Eyewitness John Ferguson tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the recovery of Elizabeth Smart in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. (March 12)
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) -- The family of Elizabeth Smart rejoiced Wednesday night in their teenage girl's discovery and begged the nation to support a national alert system to find other missing children.

Ed Smart, father of the 15-year-old girl who was abducted from her bedroom last summer, delivered an emotional message to a crowd of reporters.

"All of the children out there deserve to come home to their parents the way, the way Elizabeth has come back to us," Smart said fighting back tears. "And I just hope and pray that Congress will quickly pass the Amber alert so those children will have a better chance."

The Senate unanimously passed a bill in January that would create a nationwide alert system to quickly notify law enforcement and mass media after a child is reported missing. The bill, which has been presented to the House, would establish an Amber alert coordinator in the Justice Department to communicate with states and determine whether more than one state should issue an alert when a child is abducted.

Ed Smart's sister, Cynthia Smart-Owens, offered her support for the bill.

"While this is being celebrated across the country, we would challenge every senator and every congressman to quickly enact the Amber alert," she said. "It needs to be done and every child deserves that."

The family also focused on their joy to have Elizabeth back at home after more than nine months.

"I am so so very glad that this has a happy ending," Ed Smart said. "And I just want to thank everyone for their prayers, their love and support, not just here in Utah, but across the nation, across the world, because we had that kind of support."

Elizabeth Smart was the subject of an intense police hunt after she was reported abducted last summer. Her story drew the attention of national media.

Very few details of how Elizabeth was treated or spent her time since June have been made available.

Chris Thomas, the family spokesman, said Elizabeth spent time camping in tents and was traveling around the nation with a visit to possibly to San Diego and a desert.

"She definitely wanted to come home," Thomas said. "She was very happy to see her family."

Elizabeth told her family that there was no way she could escape.

"She had two people with her at all times," Thomas said.

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