Two years ago today, the emergency sirens in Minot sounded, and residents fled homes and businesses in the valley as the Souris River overwhelmed the city's defenses and inundated parts of the city.
Today is a chance to remember the events of 2011, but it's also an opportunity to look to the future as the city and its residents continue to recover.
Today is certainly an opportunity to look back on the devastation caused by the flood, and remember the stories of neighbors helping neighbors, and complete strangers helping others move belongings or pile sandbags around a home or business. It's a time to remember that the spirit of the city has not been and will not be broken by the flood of 2011.
There continue to be signs all around the area of positive changes and ongoing recovery. Thousands of residents are back in their homes, and a lot of damaged homes in the flood zone have been repaired or rebuilt. New homes have been built. Businesses have reopened, some in new locations.
But we also know that recovery won't be complete anytime soon. A long-term flood recovery project will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and remains in the planning stage. Long-term recovery and protection will be a lengthy, time-consuming and expensive process for the city and its residents.
On today's second anniversary of the sounding of the sirens, Minot will host "A Celebration of HOPE" from noon to 4 p.m. in Scandinavian Heritage Park. The day's events include a balloon release at 12:57 p.m. to mark the time the sirens sounded on June 22, 2011. City leaders from Minot, Joplin, Mo., and Howard Beach, N.Y., will take part in the ceremony.
Today, we take time to remember the events of the flood of 2011, but we also encourage residents to look forward as the recovery process continues.