Thank You America!
by SiouxFan - Posted Wed May 2, 2007 @ 11:47 AM
Since it's been 10 years since the Flood of '97, I just wanted to reiterate the thank you that is coming from both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks for all of those who helped us in any way during the flood.
Viewing all the old footage, and going through it myself, makes me lucky to be part of such a great country. We got plenty of donations and many people came from around the country to help us get back on our feet.
It was the largest evacuation in the history of the United States at the time, now surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina. Some people lost everything, but all were affected.
If you would like more information, I recommend Googling "Grand Forks Flood of '97" and looking at the pictures of the blizzards leading to the flood and the flood pictures. It's quite a sight.
Now for my story:
My family and I moved to Grand Forks in November '96. Pretty much right before the winter got bad. We missed quite a few school days because the blizzards were so bad. And here it has to be really bad for them to call off school. But the blizzard that pushed us over the edge was Blizzard Hannah. (Yes, we named our blizzards) It's the only I remember most vividly. It sounds like such a clich but you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Most people lost power, us included. Now I don't know if some of you can imagine losing power when the high for the day is below zero. I just remember wearing multiple layers of clothing and we even had to put a sweater on my dog. After the blizzard everything was coated with ice.
I also remember sandbagging. They even called off school so that more people would be available to help. We went down to one area and helped to distribute sandbags. There were so many people there, but being a 6th grader and my brother a 3rd grader, there was only so much we could do with throwing sandbags to each other. But we helped.
I don't remember where I was when the dikes broke, but I was with my dad, not in Grand Forks. All I remember is my aunt and uncle went there to help my mom move out some of the bigger more valuable stuff. We lived in the bottom part of a duplex, so what they didn't take was ruined. The one thing I do remember is they set our air hockey table on top of our daybed, so the machine part of it was about one foot from the ceiling. It got up that high. A lot of things were ruined. Since we rented, we had to wait to go back home. We stayed with my grandparents in Thief River Falls, MN. Since the dikes broke April 19, 1997, we were still in school. Grand Forks called off school for the rest of the year for obvious reasons. So we were given the option of finishing school at another school or just not going. My brother and I chose not to go. We had just started at a new school (in Grand Forks) 5 months previous and so we didn't really feel like entering a completely new school again.
After about a month or so, we were able to go back. The town was still rebuilding. There was so much garbage on the berm (it's the Grand Forks term for the land between the sidewalk and the street) and I remember how gross some of our stuff looked.
The one great thing is that there were no casualties from the flood. That's pretty impressive when the two cities have a combined total of around 60,000 people.
Ten years later, we have grown. It's still a never-ending process, but it's hard to tell that there was an event that caused so much damage. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger.
I'll end this with what Bill Clinton said about our spirit when he visited a few days after the dikes broke. "Water cannot wash that away. Fire cannot burn that away. A blizzard cannot freeze that away. And if you don't give it away, it will bring you back better than ever. And we'll be there with you every step of the way."
And for that, I thank you.