Clinton Speaks on Flood of 1997 while visiting Grand ForksGrand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- President Bill Clinton says Grand Forks taught the world how to deal with natural disasters. He talked about the city's incredible recovery from the devastating flood of 1997, during a special visit.
By: Melanie Orlins, WDAZ, WDAY
Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- President Bill Clinton says Grand Forks taught the world how to deal with natural disasters. He talked about the city's incredible recovery from the devastating flood of 1997, during a special visit.
Bill: "No American who was ever alive then can forget the pictures of the town flooded while the buildings were burning. It wasn't come hell OR high waters, it was come hell AND high waters." (laughs)
Hundreds gathered to listen to the man who saw Grand Forks through its toughest time--reflect on the inspiring recovery 15 years later.
Bill: "It is better, I loved walking down the streets before I got here, It is beautiful you should be so proud of it!"
Susan Streitz/GF resident: "He hasn't forgotten about us and that's a really neat feeling."
Reid Rolshoven/GF resident: "A great opportunity to thank the president for everything he did for us and we were lucky we got a lot of help."
Bill: "And I'm very proud of you."
Clinton left an impact on everyone in Grand Forks, including local leaders.
Pat Owens/former GF mayor: "I have never in my entire life met such a compassionate person, he was the right president at the right time and I know who put him there."
This is how high waters were in '97 and although waters are much lower today, Clinton says he still sees the same strength and spirit he saw back in '97.
Clinton says the lessons he learned when he visited in '97 taught him how to help out other towns and countries, in a state of disaster.
Bill: "And they built their areas back better, they learned to build structures that would resist the earthquakes just like you build levy's and dikes."
Recovery plans that were used in Grand Forks are now mirrored by other towns through the United Nations recovery handbook.
Bill: "That too is part of your legacy and you should be proud of it."
Susan: "It's just neat, it's history in the making."
Clinton reminds flood victims sticking together is key to rebuilding a community.
Bill: "If you look around the world, what works on a daily basis is what worked here after the flood."