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Dear Minot

Dear Minot

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May 28

Commemorating a decade of community resilience

Posted on May 28, 2021 at 3:05 PM by Bryan Obenchain

It’s been a decade since the events of 2011 forever changed our community and altered the lives of thousands of Minot residents and residents throughout the Mouse River Valley.

For some, 10 years hasn’t erased the painful memories of losing a home or a business to floodwaters; some of those memories will never be erased. For many, the past decade has been a winding road to personal recovery, often fraught with financial potholes, detours, and roadblocks.

As we approach the 10th anniversary, there remains a divide on how to best commemorate the events of 2011. There is no one right answer – and there is no wrong answer. Ahead of the upcoming anniversary, the City of Minot and its community and area partners have scheduled an event for June 26 in Oak Park. While plans are still being finalized, there will be a variety of elements to the day, likely including:

  • A motorcycle run starting in Mouse River Park and ending in Minot
  • A 5k run ending in Oak Park
  • A memory walk through Oak Park featuring displays of photos and information stemming from the flood of 2011 up to the present day
  • Food trucks
  • A variety of featured speakers
  • Live music throughout the day
  • The unveiling of a mosaic mural commemorating the events of 2011
  • The announcement of a Mouse River Flood Monuments Project

For some, the day will be an opportunity to remind themselves that they have persevered through everything Mother Nature threw at them in 2011 and afterward, overcoming personal and financial challenges to arrive in 2021 in a better place.

For others, the event represents everything they’d like to forget from 2011 and the subsequent recovery years, from the loss of their home or business to the financial and personal ruin caused by the event a decade ago.

Every resident affected by the disaster is entitled to their personal feelings, their methods of coping, and whether or not they choose to participate in the upcoming events. Everyone heals in their own way and at their own pace; some will never heal. We understand and respect all sentiments, all opinions, all feelings.

Like many other residents, my family’s recovery from the flood isn’t over, and won’t be over anytime soon. Ours is just one of thousands of stories, each one written and personally lived by our friends, our neighbors, and our community. Although all of us affected by the flood are bound together by the same event, the experiences are uniquely our own. We are all in varying stages of recovery - physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually.

I want to make one thing clear: This is not a celebration of the flood. Far from it. This event is to honor the people of our community and those in other affected communities – it’s always been about the people. The June 26 event will not solely focus on the memories of 2011. The day will also be an opportunity to share our stories of what has been accomplished in the years after the flood. And from that perspective, we should be proud of the work that has been done to secure the future of Minot and other communities in the Mouse River Basin. We also know there is a staggering amount of work ahead of us, and we accept that challenge.

The flood of 2011 isn’t the only thing that has physically changed our community in the past decade; our resilience and our response to those events have transformed Minot into a city with very visible flood protection measures in the form of levees, walls, and pump stations. To that end, we continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to design, fund, and construct a basin-wide plan that provides flood protection well into the future.

Often the events of 2011 are in the forefront of our minds, the sights and smells of that summer seared into our memories even as we remind ourselves of how much we’ve accomplished since the water receded. Yet, the past 10 years also often seemed to have happened in slow motion, as the process of recovery grinds its way through our community’s history and our own personal experiences.

As a community, we embrace everything that’s happened in the years since 2011. While using history as our guide, we focus on our city’s future and our personal futures. At the City of Minot, we certainly have not forgotten the events of 2011; we are reminded daily of what’s at stake as we dedicate our efforts to designing, funding, and constructing the largest infrastructure project in Minot’s history. We cannot change the events of the past, but we most certainly can use the lessons learned to create a brighter future for our community and our residents.

We hope to see you in Oak Park on June 26.

Sincerely, City Hall.

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