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Published March 17, 2012, 05:02 PM

Clinton Visits Grand Forks 15 Years After Devastating Flood

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Former President Bill Clinton spoke about how Grand Forks has impacted him at the Obelisk flood monument Saturday morning.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Former President Bill Clinton spoke about how Grand Forks has impacted him at the Obelisk flood monument Saturday morning.

The impressive way the city has recovered taught the former President how to help out other places that have stared natural disaster in the face.

"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," said Former United States President, Bill Clinton.

Hundreds gathered to listen to the man who saw Grand Forks through its toughest time and reflect on the inspiring recovery 15 years later.

"It is better, I loved walking down the streets before I got here, It is beautiful you should be so proud of it," said President Clinton.

"He hasn't forgotten about us and that's a really neat feeling," said Susan Streitz, a resident of Grand Forks during the 1997 flood.

"A great opportunity to thank the president for everything he did for us and we were lucky we got a lot of help," said Reid Rolshoven, a Grand Forks resident.

"And I'm very proud of you," said Clinton.

Clinton left an impact on everyone in Grand Forks, including local leaders.

"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," said the Former Mayor of Grand Forks, Pat Owens.

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.

"And they built their areas back better, they learned to build structures that would resist the earthquakes just like you build levy's and dykes," said Clinton.

Recovery plans that were used in Grand Forks are now mirrored by other towns through the United Nations recovery handbook.

"That too is part of your legacy and you should be proud of it," said Clinton.

"It's just neat, it's history in the making," said Streitz.

Clinton reminds flood victims sticking together is key to rebuilding a community.

"If you look around the world, what works on a daily basis is what worked here after the flood," said Clinton.

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